Farhana Review | A Loud and Generic Thriller That Failed to Utilize Its Potential

The title character of the movie Farhana is this extremely naive woman who lives with her husband and family, who are extremely conservative Muslims. The issue I had with the film was that this naivety is visible in the way the film presents the character and her conflicts. With the screenplay jumping from one tone to another without really establishing much in each phase, Farhana, starring Aishwarya Rajesh, is a thriller that couldn’t connect due to its broad strokes.

So the film is about Farhana, a conservative Muslim who decides to go for a job as her husband and family are struggling to meet the family’s financial needs. She gets this job in a bank’s call center and starts earning some good money. But soon, she realizes there is another wing in that call center that is purely dedicated to “friendly” calls with men. Seeing the monetary benefits, Farhana takes up that job. Initially disgusted, Farhana starts to love the job when she gets this regular caller whose conversations are less sexual. How that caller and that relationship changed things for Farhana is what we see in this movie by Nelson Venkatesan.

SPOILER ALERT! I didn’t try to watch the film’s trailer before seeing it, and hence I was clueless about what the movie was about. So in the initial patches, the director gives you the impression that this is a female-uplifting movie as we see the gloomy phase of the patriarch of the family as Farhana leaves the house for a job. But then the film shifts to this phase, where we have an unknown caller with whom Farhana finds this unique connection, and I thought we were about to see something like a Her or Lunchbox, where deep conversations and character studies will impress you. But yet again, Nelson Venkatesan reroutes the story, and this time it is like a psychopathic revenge thriller where this caller becomes a point of botheration for Farhana as he starts to threaten her. The efforts of the writing to make things complicated for the central character don’t look very organic, and thus it is difficult to feel bad for that character. There is a moment in the film where Farhana actually makes an effort to meet this person. The conversations we saw on screen until that point were not enough to convince us that she could take such a risk.

Aishwarya Rajesh is trying her best to portray this educated girl with less exposure and religious constraints. But the character design seems a bit too dramatic as the way she panics and goes after problems looks unreal. It’s like you know that a real-life person like that won’t do it, but Nelson Venkatesan is forcing his character to do stupid stuff just to push the film to that thriller space. Jithan Ramesh as her husband, whose real side is shown only in the climax, underplayed that character very neatly. Selvaraghavan was mostly doing the voice acting in this film, and his voice had the tenderness of a loner and the rage of a sociopath. Anumol, Shakti, Aishwarya Dutta, etc., are the other names in the star cast.

The movie is largely shot in real locations, so the making manages to create that intrigue on screen. The sequences in the mall and metro have that authentic feel. Whenever the calls panic Farhana, Gokul Benoy applies a very evident Dutch angle to unsettle the viewer. The confined environment inside that house pretty much communicates the restriction she faced. The fundamental thing about the success of any film is the writing, and the lack of nuances and smoothness is consistently derailing the film. Even though it starts to look exciting when Farhana says she will go after the one who is disturbing her, it feels more like one more stupid decision than a necessary step.

On a scene order level, Farhana has enough juice to be a thriller that discusses many other topics through its subplots and layers. But when it comes to a full-fledged script, none of the layers blend smoothly, and the loudness takes away all its possibility to be an effective thriller.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to a full-fledged script, none of the layers blend smoothly, and the loudness takes away all its possibility to be an effective thriller.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.