Anek

In this new phase of his directorial career, Anubhav Sinha took up extremely pertinent topics. The good thing about almost all those films was that he took the risk of addressing sensitive issues and managed to present them in a way we would appreciate the craft in his presentation. On that scale, I would say Anek is the least effective movie from Sinha. The film clearly has tried to shed some light on the whole North-East tension, but the documentation never really gets a gripping cinematic language.

Aman, an undercover agent in the North East, is our narrator. The Indian government is trying to take things under control by negotiating with the rebel leader Tiger Sangha. And for that, the intel from Aman was crucial, and he was doing his job efficiently. At one point, out of the many rebel gangs, a gang named Johnson suddenly became active, and they were working against the peace negotiations between Sangha and India. The efforts to find the Johnson gang and how that goes is what we see in Anek.

Anubhav Sinha is trying to give multiple layers to the story. One of them has Aido, a boxer from the North East who wants to be acknowledged as an Indian but always gets discriminated against for her looks. Then there is Aido’s father’s narrative, who doesn’t want to be a part of India. Then we have the bureaucrats who want to maintain violence over peace to remain in power. There is also one track that shows the life of a young boy who eventually joins the rebel forces. Aman, our hero, is a connecting link who eventually learns about the whole political picture from the life of all these people. The screenplay idea was actually an impressive one, considering how much it covers. But the structuring is a bit uneven, and there are areas where you would feel they are squeezing in too many things.

If your knowledge of what happens in the seven sister states in the North East is minimal, I would say Anek is definitely a good starter pack. It covers a lot of perspectives to give us a slightly blurred idea about the political tension in that part of the world. To show the political reality and the demands of the people of the North East, you need to have an approach that isn’t jingoistic, and Sinha mocks the hyper-nationalistic Uri in that process.

Each track in the film has a different feel. The Manoj Pahwa track feels a bit disheartening, while Aido’s subplot had a template feel. The tale of the young boy was actually heartbreaking, and even the making style of that segment had a brutal tone. When Aman meets the people who ran the Johnson gang, the film gets this informative tone to its credit. The totality of all this doesn’t have the kind of impact Sinha’s recent endeavors had. Ewan Mulligan’s cinematography clearly enhances the feel Anubhav Sinha wanted to generate.

In terms of performance, it doesn’t feel like a challenging role for Ayushmann Khurrana, even though we haven’t seen him in this action hero-spy avatar. Andrea Kevichusa plays the role of Aido, and she was convincing as that character. As the senior to Aman, Manoj Pahwa keeps it really subtle, and the contrast of this character from the usual ones we see him doing gives it a different impact. Rakesh Boro as Ritvi delivered a memorable performance, and the cast has names like JD Chakravarthy, Kumud Mishra, etc.

There are areas in Anek where you would feel that the outsider perspective isn’t helping the movie present the issues more deeply. The emphasis on exposing the political exploitation and also the efforts to have this attire of a fictional thriller is somewhere limiting this film from being a creation that would make you do your own research on this topic. Anek is a mixed bag of subplots that falls short on impact in its combined form.

Final Thoughts

Anek is a mixed bag of subplots that falls short on impact in its combined form.

Movie Signal

Green: Recommended Film

Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films

Red: Not Recommended