Athiran is one movie which has that quality to make you do the backtracking.  The movie directed by Vivek is not doing a great job in maintaining the suspense, but it does a fairly good job in unveiling that suspense. With performances having a solid impact on a story that is told in a fairy tale mood, Athiran has its shortcomings and yet manages to become an engaging thriller.

It is about a mental asylum that is located very remotely in a hilly area. A government psychiatrist named Moothedathu Kannan Nair arrives at this private mental asylum for an enquiry after the asylum gained a bad reputation over the way it treated its patients. What Kannan Nair witnesses there and how his arrival changes things are what Athiran talking about.

The beginning visuals and the background score of Athiran are so captivating that you will be immediately pulled into that ‘70s ambiance. Then it gets into that predictable yet exciting zone with a lot of jump scares and illusions. Where the movie fumbled was in the second half, but when you look at the way the climax gives a purpose to the hero, that clumsiness has got some justification. Like I mentioned in the beginning, what is not so acceptable is the way it failed to give that shock in the climax when some identities are revealed. But Fahadh Faasil who has this amazing flexibility to be a Mahesh Bhavana and Abin helps the director enormously in the climax portions thus the presentation of the climax helps you to end the movie on that exciting note.

Fahadh Faasil as the government psychiatrist is easily the best performer in the star cast. The realness and rawness in his response to the largely theatrical performances of the other actors in the star cast help the movie greatly in being engaging. If he also did that kind of dialogue delivery, things would have been really difficult for the director. Sai Pallavi has to be lauded here for her subtle performance as an autistic person. She rarely has any dialogues in this film and the actress is relying completely on the body language here. And the best part is that she isn’t overdoing the physical aspects of autism and that makes the performance a quality one. Atul Kulkarni as Benjamin is an eccentric character and considering his ideologies, that kind of portrayal is justifiable. The character offered to Lena wasn’t really a challenging one. Leona Leshoy, Surabhi Lakshmi, Vijay Menon, and Sudev Nair play the roles of the other patients here and sadly the movie isn’t offering much time for these people to perform.

The immediate feeling when I walked out of the film was that they could have avoided a lot of complications in the second half. But right now when I backtrack all those events, the script by PF Mathews added those portions keeping in mind the ultimate result. What I liked about Vivek’s moviemaking style was how quickly he manages to make us interested in the story through captivating visuals and character traits. The second half could have been slightly more gripping, but I feel the script has managed to take the story to a level where the audience will take an effort to understand the behavior of each character. The story is set in the ‘70s and that does add a bit of spooky beauty to the texture of the visuals and the cinematographer Anu Moothedathu has done a terrific job behind the camera. Ghibran’s background score was loud but was really effective considering the tone of the darkness in the mood of this movie. The songs were also quite catchy.

Athiran is not a flawless film. An okay story gets enhanced through an interesting script. With quality visuals backing the truly impressive performances of Fahadh Faasil and Sai Pallavi, Athiran is a movie that will stay with you.

Rating: 3/5

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Final Thoughts

With quality visuals backing the truly impressive performances of Fahadh Faasil and Sai Pallavi, Athiran is a movie that will stay with you.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.