Antakshari is a Malayalam crime thriller film released on SonyLIV on April 22, 2022. The film is written & directed by Vipin Das & presented by Jeethu Joseph, known for his Drishyam film series. Starring Saiju Kurup, Vijay Babu, Binu Pappu, Sudhi Koppa, Priyanka Nair, Sabareesh Varma, Kottayam Ramesh and Jenny Pallath.
The film has a runtime of about 2 hours and 2 minutes. It is available in Malayalam, Tamil & other languages with English subtitles.
Youtube’s description of the film reads as:
“A game that makes you reminisce the good old days of your life suddenly takes a turn. Will it depend on a mere game of Antakshari?”
-Antakshari Review Does Not Contain Any Spoilers-
The Plot: Sweet Game takes a Dark Turn
Das played by Saiju Kurup is an unconventional inspector in the small town of Kedaram, where he makes the criminals or notorious people coming with a complaint sing in the game of antakshari. But one day he receives a phone call from a man to partake in his own game with him or his daughter will be harmed.
Thinking of it as a prank, his daughter one day actually gets attacked by a man wearing a shopping bag mask, choking the girl with a stethoscope while singing a song. Utterly shocked by the incident, Das sets off a deep investigation leaving no stones unturned to find the masked man. Going through the cases of past & present lands Das in more trouble. Will Das be able to find out the identity of the masked man out for the blood of his family before he turns up at their door?
What Works & What Doesn’t?
The film starts off with a grappling intro that will hook you to your screens instantly. The town of Kedaram where the story is set is full of horrible, perverse but powerful characters who go on to do their sick activities in a rather uneventful & peaceful place. The people of the lower strata of the society are helpless and silently preserve to move on with their lives.
Forbearing traumatic things are bound to have some implication on the bearer which might turn into various psychological issues or reason for vengeance. That forms the crux of the story but it also successfully confuses the viewers in order to figure out the killer on the loose. Every character has a backstory that works as a side plot and is shown in a non-linear way that keeps us engaged apart from the central plot.
The sound design is minimalistic but effective in the crucial moments that build up the situation. Also, as the name suggests, the game of antakshari plays out every now & then, often in unusual places.
Although largely the film is engrossing without many errors, there are a few things that might drizzle on its hit parade. There is no particular distinction between past & present events which could be confusing as well misleading for the viewers. The subplots are not etched out clearly and feel like an unnecessary detail in the movie.
There should be a trigger warning as well, as the film mentions sexual assault, animal abuse and casteism in many places in the film and it could be difficult to watch for some viewers.
Final Thoughts: Stream it or Skip it?
Antakshari by SonyLIV is a definite watch if you are looking for a good thriller film. It will take you on an investigative ride till the end while making you question who the real killer is. The main protagonist, Das, is our ultimate hero who we hope doesn’t die before the runtime and catches the culprit. How trauma plays out in our life and its effect on mental health is subtly talked about in the film.
The non-linear way of storytelling favours the plot effectively. Although, I never thought that even the game of antakshari can become sinister and leaves an eerie feeling lingering in our mind.
Antakshari is streaming on SonyLIV.Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.