If someone says that anyone can make a terrific film with a solid script, I will disagree with them and will show Bhramam as an example. This official remake of the Sriram Raghavan black comedy Andhadhun is very much the same in terms of the written content. But what made it underwhelming for me was the pitch of the humor and also the loud treatment. To give you an example, when Tabu tries to scare Ayushmann in the original, we don’t really see Ayushmann’s fear, and it was actually us who got frightened by that scene. In Bhramam, we don’t really feel that shock, and Prithviraj as Ray is visibly shaken.
So the story is about this blind musician named Ray Mathews who is good at Piano. He meets a girl named Anna who helps him in getting a job as a pianist in her dad’s restaurant. Eventually, he meets yesteryear’s Malayalam star Udaykumar who offers him a private concert gig at his home as it is his wedding anniversary. But when Ray arrived at Uday’s home, it wasn’t really a pleasant situation. What happens there and the repercussions of that is what we see in Bhramam.
SPOILER ALERT! If you are reading this review without watching Andhadhun or Bhramam, please don’t proceed to the remaining part of the review. Not comparing this movie with the original would have been a legitimate demand if one sensed a genuine effort to transport the movie to a fresh setting and add some interesting tweaks from the original. But here, even the dialogues are also the same. The conversation between the characters played by Leela Samson and Sudheer Karamana, the crab cooking scene in the beginning, etc., somewhere showed the inability of the writing department to come up with something fresh.
The minimalism in the performance of actors had made Andhadhun a constantly unpredictable film. When Simi finds out the truth and screams, “I knew it,” even the audience were wondering whether she got it or not till that point. Here, because of the eccentric style followed by both Prithviraj and Mamta, that surprise is not there. Prithviraj Sukumaran’s usual style of showing panic with a lot of breathing and “eh” s is repeated here as well, and it felt like a performance. Ravi K Chandran has tried to make the character a bit more humorous, and those areas made me cringe. Mamta’s version of Simi is loud, and the decibel is slightly lesser than what we saw in My Boss. I appreciate Unni Mukundan’s artistic spirit to go for a self troll through the character. Jagadish plays the role of Dr. Swamy, almost the retired version of dentist Appukkuttan. Both these characters were so good in the original because of how the actors underplayed those characters, and here they are more like caricatures. Raashi Khanna is the pretty-face heroin, and Ann Amie’s dubbing for her had nice sync.
Ravi K Chandran’s imagination of Andhadhun reminded me of the dialogue by Jayaram in Yathrakkarude Shradhak about the tone difference in drama in both Malayalam and Tamil. In the case of Bhramam, it was the Malayalam version that had the Tamil pitch. They may have tried it to create a difference, but being a subtle black comedy was the core of Andhadhun, and when you play with that, the risk is humongous. The writing, especially the dialogues, lacked flavor. It almost sounded like a dubbed film with stiff dialogues. The cinematography is on the exquisite side. Ravi K Chandran plays with colors and lights to create the perfect mood for the scenes. The music was underwhelming.
The ambiguous ending of the original was a single take where the camera shifts abruptly at the very end moment. In the case of Bhramam, I think 2 or 3 cuts are there for that shot, almost asking the viewer, “Hey, look, here is a twist that you shouldn’t miss.” There is nothing creatively satisfying in Bhramam to make people who have seen Andhadhun from making the comparison. The content is exactly the same. But while Sriram Raghavan decided to trust the audience’s intelligence, Ravi K Chandran opted to spoon-feed them.
The content is exactly the same. But while Sriram Raghavan decided to trust the audience's intelligence, Ravi K Chandran opted to spoon-feed them.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended