Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Sriram Raghavan|
|Produced by||Viacom 18 Motion Pictures|
|Written by||Sriram Raghavan|
Pooja Ladha Surti
Daniel B. George
|Cinematography||K. U. Mohanan|
|Edited by||Pooja Ladha Surti|
Viacom 18 Motion Pictures
|Distributed by||Viacom 18 Motion Pictures|
|Box office||₹111 crore|
Andhadhun (lit. Blind Tune; Hindi pronunciation: [əndʱaːdʱʊn]) is a 2018 Indian black comedy crime thriller film co-written and directed by Sriram Raghavan. Produced by Viacom18 Motion Pictures and Matchbox Pictures, the film stars Tabu, Ayushmann Khurrana and Radhika Apte and tells the story of a piano player who unwillingly becomes embroiled in the murder of a former film actor. Its script was written by Raghavan, Arijit Biswas, Pooja Ladha Surti, Yogesh Chandekar and Hemanth Rao. The film was edited by Surti, and K. U. Mohanan was its director of photography. Amit Trivedi composed songs for the film while Jaideep Sahni wrote the lyrics. Raftaar and Girish Nakod composed and wrote a song as a guest composer.
Hemanth Rao (a friend of Raghavan) suggested in 2013 that he watch L'Accordeur (The Piano Tuner), a 2010 French short film about a blind pianist. Raghavan liked the film, and decided to work on a script based on it. Khurrana was cast in the lead role after he contacted Raghavan and expressed an interest in working with him. The film was shot in 44 days over more than a year in Pune; principal photography began in June 2017, and ended on 17 July 2018.
Andhadhun was released by Balaji Ram of Srirangam theatrically on 5 October 2018 to widespread acclaim, with critics highlighting Khurrana and Tabu's performances. Produced on a budget of ₹32 crore (US$4.5 million), the film grossed ₹111 crore (US$15 million) at the box office. At the Screen Awards ceremony, the film won four awards, including Best Director and Best Screenplay.
Akash (Ayushmann Khurrana), a pianist who pretends to be blind during the day, is attempting to finish a musical piece. He lives with his cat and often encounters a young neighbour who tries to see if he is really blind. Akash is knocked over while crossing the road by Sophie (Radhika Apte), who is awed by his talent and gets him an engagement at her father's diner, where he is noticed by former actor Pramod Sinha (Anil Dhawan). Pramod is married to Simi (Tabu), and invites Akash to his apartment to perform for their wedding anniversary. Sophie and Akash begin a relationship. When Akash arrives at Sinha's flat, Simi opens the door and is reluctant to let him in; she does when she sees her neighbour, Mrs. D'Sa, watching them. Simi, convinced that Akash is blind, lets him play the piano. Akash sees a body nearby, but feigns ignorance and continues to play; he also sees Inspector Manohar (Manav Vij) hiding in the bathroom. When he returns to the piano, he identifies the body as Sinha's. Simi and Manohar quietly clean the body and stuff it into a suitcase while Akash plays.
Akash then tries to report the murder, but discovers that Manohar is an inspector at the police station. Simi kills Mrs D'Sa in Akash's presence (who is forced to continue feigning ignorance of the murders), since she saw Manohar enter the flat. Akash admits faking his blindness when Simi pours poison into his coffee in front of him. Although he says that he will leave for London (and Simi's secret is safe with him), she drugs him anyway. Sophie sees that the young neighbour recorded a video of Akash acting like a sighted person. When she checks on him, Simi arranges things to look like she and Akash are sleeping together. Furious and heartbroken, Sophie leaves Akash. He wakes up, and realises that he cannot see. Simi and Manohar decide that blinding Akash would not be enough (since he could still reveal details), so Manohar returns to Akash's home to finish the job. Akash struggles his way to the road, faints and is brought to a clinic which is a front for illicit organ harvesting.
Dr. Swami (Zakir Hussain) and his two assistants, Murli and Sakhu, decide to spare Akash and help him obtain the money needed to reverse his blindness. They kidnap Simi, stage a suicide scene, and blackmail Manohar into bringing money; however, Murli and Sakhu double-cross Akash and tie him up with Simi to get the money themselves. Manohar shoots Murli, but is trapped in an elevator and accidentally shoots himself. The money is revealed to be counterfeit. Desperate, Akash removes Simi's blindfold after she helps him free himself. He tries to escape, while Simi frees herself and attacks him. Dr. Swami enters; he and Akash knock Simi out, tie her up in the trunk of a car and drive. Swami reveals his plan to harvest Simi's organs for US$1 million (since she has a rare blood type) and pay for Akash's corneal transplant (which Akash declines).
Two years later in Europe, Sophie meets Akash (who still appears blind) at a gig. He tells her that Simi awakened in the trunk and began making noise; when Swami stopped the car, she overpowered him and seized the wheel. Akash, thinking that Swami was still driving, continued trying to convince him to let Simi go. She dropped Akash off and tried to run him over; when a ricocheting bullet fired by a farmer at a hare shattered the windscreen, she lost control of the car and was killed in the crash. Sophie tells Akash that he should have accepted the doctor's offer and used Simi's corneas to restore his sight. Akash does not answer; he walks out and knocks a can out of his path with his cane, implying that he is not blind.
- Tabu as Simi
- Ayushmann Khurrana as Akash
- Radhika Apte as Sophie
- Anil Dhawan as Pramod Sinha
- Zakir Hussain as Dr. Swami
- Ashwini Kalsekar as Rasika Jawanda
- Manav Vij as Inspector Manohar Jawanda
- Chaya Kadam as Sakhu
- Gopal K Singh as Sub-Inspector Paresh
- Rashmi Agdekar as Daani
- Kabir Sajid Sheikh as Bandu
- Rudrangshu Chakrabarti as Murli
- Pratik Nandkumar More as Surya
- Mahesh Rale as P. Kamdar
- Abhishek Shukla as Animal Hunter
- Jaydutt Vyas as Alurkar
Director-writer Sriram Raghavan saw L'Accordeur (The Piano Tuner), a 2010 French short film about a blind pianist, in 2013 at the recommendation of his friend, filmmaker Hemanth Rao. Raghavan said that although his film is different, the French film was its "basic germ". He wanted Rao to write a script based on the short, but Rao was directing a film of his own. Raghavan then worked on Badlapur (2015), and had the "gist of the story". After reading about Kaabil (another film about a blind man) when he was about to start writing, he stopped: "It would be a bit crazy to have two movies about visually impaired people". Raghavan later resumed the script, taking a different approach.
The idea of a blind pianist performing while a body is being dumped and a crime scene cleaned up fascinated him, since he had done a similar scene in the song "Raabta" during his previous film, Agent Vinod (2012), where a blind girl plays the piano surrounded by mayhem. Raghavan wrote the script with Arijit Biswas, Yogesh Chandekar, Rao and Pooja Ladha Surti. He had given the story idea to Varun Dhawan while they were working on Badlapur, but Dhawan became busy with other films. The script was unfinished at that time. Raghavan discussed the scenes with the writers, and they reacted as viewers.
Raghavan and Biswas were unhappy while translating the dialogue from English to Hindi, since they thought in English. Raghavan told Biswas to write the dramatic dialogue in Bengali, which was "at least the Indian idiom". Surti wrote another version of the dialogue, since her Hindi was better than that of the others. Raghavan cited Fargo (the series and the film) as an inspiration, calling them "realistic and yet ... bizarre". One of his friends was in a situation similar to one in the film; he then realised how old Hindi films had the "piano songs", and decided make the blind pianist the main character.
Casting and filming
Ayushmann Khurrana contacted Raghavan, expressing interest in working with him on a film. He had heard about the film from casting director Mukesh Chhabra. Raghavan conducted screen tests of the scene where the protagonist wakes up and realises that he is blind: "There were two pieces - when you are acting blind and when you are actually blind, and we tried both. I wanted to see what the difference in his body language would be." Khurrana played the piano in the film. He met several blind students in a Mumbai school, and observed "how [a blind pianist] plays, conducts and moves his hands." Khurrana studied piano for four hours daily under Akshay Verma (a pianist based in Los Angeles), and did not use a body double for his fingers in the film. He called it the "most challenging role" of his career.
Raghavan told Khurrana not to watch films with a blind protagonist, and brought him to the National School of the Blind. He said, "Since no two persons are the same, I picked up the nuances, learnt how to hold the stick and climb the stairs." Khurrana made omelettes and walked on the street blindfolded. He was given a special pair of lenses from London which, he said, impaired his vision "almost 80 percent." His body language changed, since he could no longer see things properly. After wearing the black glasses, his vision was affected by 90 per cent. He shot the entire film like that. Raghavan called Radhika Apte, who agreed to play Khurrana's love interest in the film. Several scenes were improvised. Tabu was Raghavan's first choice as Simi. He did not brief her about scenes, and they "kept developing [the character] as it went". Anil Dhawan played a former actor, a version of himself.
Raghavan said that he wanted to make a "fun sort of thriller" after Badlapur, and decided to work on the film. Andhadhun is not a whodunit: "[...] The audience knows all along what's happening and why. It's the characters who don't." The film was shot in 44 days over more than a year in Pune; principal photography began in June 2017, and ended on 17 July 2018. Filming took that long because none of the actors was available for a long shooting schedule. Raghavan and the film's director of photography, K. U. Mohanan, decided to "restrict everything to Akash's point of view" so the audience would be able to see what Akash sees. There were no close-ups in the piano-playing scene, which was rehearsed extensively with several assistants to fit its timing into the four-minute piano piece. It was not rehearsed with the actors; Raghavan told them to "just do the scene", and gave tham a time frame: "We didn't want it to look practiced; we needed that uncertainty."
He wanted the film to have an open ending, and considered several options. The producers, Viacom 18, were apprehensive about audience acceptance of an open ending; however, Raghavan persuaded them. The film's first shot was rehearsed for three months with Khurrana. Raghavan called Andhadhun "a fun film in the macabre sense of the word", with moments of "wickedness and brutality". Its working title was Shoot the Piano Player, which was changed because the producers felt that an English title would "alienate people". The title is a play on the word andhadhund (which means reckless or relentless), and "a play on blind tune and trance". The film was edited by Pooja Ladha Surti, and Snigdha Pankaj and Anita Donald were its production designers. It was produced by Viacom18 Motion Pictures and Matchbox Pictures.
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||21 September 2018|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|Label||Zee Music Company|
|Amit Trivedi chronology|
The film's soundtrack album was composed by Amit Trivedi except for the title track, which was composed by Raftaar and Girish Nakod. The album's lyrics were written by Jaideep Sahni, Raftaar and Nakod. It was released on 21 September 2018 on the Zee Music Company label. Vocals were provided by Trivedi, Raftaar, Ayushmann Khurrana, Arijit Singh, Abhijeet Srivastava, Aakansha Sharma, Shadab Faridi and Altamash Faridi. The background score was composed by Daniel B. George.
The album received a mainly-positive response from critics. Devansh Sharma of Firstpost called it "sweet, edgy, peppy and meditative in equal parts": "Overall, the music of Andhadhun is an example of what the piano is capable of in depicting varied seasons and moods." According to Gaurang Chauhan of Times Now, the album "has the old world charm to it, the one we have been missing from today's time." Devarsi Ghosh of Scroll.in also praised the album: "Where Trivedi really shines – and seems to have sweated on – are the two piano pieces titled Andhadhun Theme 01 and Andhadhun Theme 02". She said that the pieces "evoke pleasantness one minute, dread in the next, and several other moods in between."
Garvita Sharma of The Times of India wrote that it "may not be the best album by Amit Trivedi", but "it’s still a standout for it goes hand-in-glove" with the film's theme. Joginder Tuteja of Bollywood Hungama wrote that the album begins well, but he found the "overdose of songs" problematic. Umesh Punwani of Koimoi said, "With the entire symphonic approach, Amit Trivedi has proved why he's the best choirmaster Bollywood has ever had."
|1.||"Naina Da Kya Kasoor"||Amit Trivedi||3:30|
|2.||"Aap Se Milkar"||Abhijeet Shrivastava, Aakanksha Sharma||3:56|
|3.||"Wo Ladki"||Arijit Singh||4:12|
|4.||"Laila Laila"||Amit Trivedi||3:23|
|5.||"Oh Bhai Re"||Shadab Faridi, Altamash Faridi||3:25|
|6.||"Andhadhun Title Track" (Music & Lyrics by Raftar and Girish Nakod)||Raftaar||2:54|
|7.||"Andhadun" (Theme 01)||Amit Trivedi||4:15|
|8.||"Andhadun" (Theme 02)||Amit Trivedi||2:40|
|9.||"Naina Da Kya Kasoor" (Electronic)||Amit Trivedi||3:48|
|10.||"Aap Se Milkar" (Reprise)||Ayushmann Khurrana||2:26|
|11.||"Naina Da Kya Kasoor" (Unplugged)||Ayushmann Khurrana||2:54|
Although Andhadhun was scheduled for release on 31 August, it was postponed until 5 October; the producers announced the delay in a trailer. Raghavan originally wanted the film's trailer to only contain sounds (no video, since it was the story of a blind man), but the studio was "shocked" at his suggestion. After several discussions, they agreed on a trailer. Raghavan "didn't want to give away too many things about the film" in the trailer, and the studio eventually accepted his viewpoint. The trailer was released on 2 September 2018. The film was released on 800 screens across India, and is available on Netflix.
Andhadhun was critically acclaimed. Raja Sen called it a "rare treat" and a film "so compelling that it may universally be considered irresistible." Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV wrote, "Watch Andhadhun with your ears, eyes and minds open. You will come away with your senses heightened." Rajeev Masand called it a film with "many pleasures"; "chief among them is the thrill of being constantly surprised." He praised Khurrana's and Tabu's performances, calling them "in solid form" and "towering". Renuka Vyavahare of The Times of India also gave the film a positive review, calling it an "engaging thriller that keeps you on your toes and leaves you guessing all the way." Sreehari Nair of Rediff.com wrote, "This must be the only blood thriller in the history of Indian movies that ends up giving you a high ... a pure high!" Ankur Pathak of HuffPost cited it as "the best film of 2018 so far" and "a film worth watching and then rewatching."
Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express called Andhadhun "racy, pacy and appropriately pulpy", but becomes a "tad heavy-handed and dull" after a while. Shibaji Roychoudhury of Times Now felt the second half was predictable and "falls flat", but called the film "thrilling, full of compelling performances and exceptional sound design that will keep you at the edge of your seat." Sushant Mehta of India Today wrote, "Raghavan's ability to shock an entire cinema hall including the most immovable, emotionless fan coupled with his ability to make the audience laugh during these moments where your heart is in your mouth defines his unique brand of cinema."
Anupama Chopra wrote, "The surroundings – high-rises, leafy streets and old houses in Pune – seem perfectly normal but what’s happening inside is deliciously twisted. There’s murder, betrayal, sex and a mountain of lies. In short, you can’t look away." Udita Jhunjhunwala of Mint praised Khurrana's acting, calling it a "taut performance that balances vulnerability with craftiness"; however, Tabu "runs away with the show". Nandini Ramnath of Scroll.in noted that the film has a "strong flavour of the Coen brothers at their peak, but also enough nods to Raghavan’s longstanding interest in the dynamics of the perfect crime and the hustlers and flimflam artists who populate pulp detective stories." She said that although the film's runtime was a stretch, it "slides into place as smoothly as one of Akash’s piano pieces." Shaheen Irani of Deccan Chronicle wrote, "Sriram has done a fab job in keeping dark humour intact with several "quirky and surprise elements that will make you cover your face too."
Shilajit Mitra of The New Indian Express said in a review that "Raghavan creates a world interchangeably familiar and pulpy", where he "strings together ingenious set-pieces and populates them with wryly-written characters." Troy Ribeiro of Indo-Asian News Service called the film a "taut, skillful and surgically effective murder mystery": "For most of its length, Andhadhun functions so efficiently that we put the cause and its effects on hold and go with the action." Manjusha Radhakrishnan of Gulf News described the film as an "unapologetic celebration of vitriol, darkness and mean-spiritedness." Namrata Joshi wrote, "While seemingly giving things away, Raghavan is actually always a step ahead of the viewers in the cat-and-mouse game."
Poulomi Das of Arre also gave it a positive review: "The film is all about clever writing, top-notch execution, and hard-hitting social commentary – but it is also a triumph of casting, and an ode to actors." Shilpa Jamkhandikar of Reuters said "Andhadhun ticks all the right boxes" that should be "savoured." Kumar Shyam of The National wrote, "Drawing the viewers into multiple situations of right and wrong, black and white and then shades of grey, the climax also ends on a similar note with a deliberate climax, typical Hitchcockian, between salvation and revelation." Stutee Ghosh of The Quint said, "Andhadhun deserves praise and full attention ... Make sure to not miss anything, not the opening scene nor the end credits." Anita Iyer of Khaleej Times called the film a "crisply-edited, fast-paced narrative that keeps you on the edge of the seat throughout." J. Hurtado of Screen Anarchy said: "Andhadhun shows that this veteran director knows how to make this kind of twisty genre gem better than almost anyone in India." He also included it in his list of 14 Favorite Indian Films of 2018.
Andhadhun was produced on a budget of ₹32 crore (US$4.5 million), and earned ₹2.50 crore (US$350,000) on its first day. The film's box office increased with positive word of mouth, and it grossed ₹5.10 crore (US$710,000) on its second day. It earned ₹15 crore (US$2.1 million) in its first weekend, and grossed ₹41.05 crore (US$5.7 million) in ten days. The film became profitable before its theatrical release through satellite, music and digital rights. At the end of its six-week theatrical run, Andhadhun earned ₹101 crore (US$14 million) at the box office (mainly from Mumbai). The film also did well internationally, earning ₹10.37 crore (US$1.4 million).
Awards and nominations
|Date of Ceremony||Award||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result||Ref.|
|16 December 2018||Screen Awards||Best Director||Sriram Raghavan||Won|||
|Best Screenplay||Arijit Biswas, Sriram Raghavan, Pooja Ladha Surti||Won|
|Best Editing||Pooja Ladha Surti||Won|
|Best Sound Design||Madhu Apsara||Won|
|TBA||FOI Online Awards, India||Best Feature Film||Andhadhun||Pending|||
|Best Direction||Sriram Raghavan||Pending|
|Best Adapted Screenplay||Arijit Biswas, Pooja Ladha Surti, Sriram Raghavan & Yogesh Chandekar||Pending|
|Best Actor in a Leading Role||Ayushmann Khurrana||Pending|
|Best Actress in a Leading Role||Tabu||Pending|
|Best Editing||Pooja Ladha Surti||Pending|
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