Gaganachari Review | This Dystopian Satire Is Consistently Funny and Cleverly Imaginative

Oftentimes, when they try something really out of the box, there are chances of the execution of the concept becoming extremely pretentious and eventually ending up in a misfire. The most impressive thing about Arun Chandu’s post-apocalyptic mockumentary, Gaganachari, is that it has a desire to communicate satire rather than putting itself on a pedestal. From witty and quirky writing to a very smart making that uses whatever their limited resources can provide, more than perfection, I would say you would feel like clapping for the conviction with which they pulled off this crazy idea.

We are introduced to this dystopian future of Kerala, where everything is in a damaged state, and Earth itself is in an inhospitable state. Victor Vasudevan, an ex-military officer who was part of the battle against the first wave of aliens, and his aids Alan and Vaibhav are our main characters. The military background of Victor has helped them in getting lenient treatment from the authorities. What we see in the movie Gaganachari is the series of events that happen in the life of these three when an alien comes to their bunker.

A high-concept film doesn’t necessarily mean a high-budget film. What you need is a solid idea on paper, and with accessible and affordable tools available in the market, you can actually pull off something exciting if you have that creative smartness. In a way, Gaganachari is a great example of how one can convert limitations into an opportunity. They use smaller aspect ratios, freestyle cinematography, confined spaces, colors, fashion choices, etc., to transport the story to the future. And ultimately, it is a mockumentary, and subconsciously, we are not seeking ultra-perfection. After a point, we are more focused on the satiric aspect of the writing, and when contemporary political references and movie references pop up in the future, that simply enhances the fun element in the story.

In terms of performance, the major share of the screen time is for Mr. KB Ganesh Kumar, and he has handled the humor very smoothly. The flow of his conversations as the self-proclaimed achiever is genuinely funny. Aju Varghese, as Vaibhav, is actually in his typical zone, and since the character is in that comical space, that style works. Gokul Suresh has increased the pitch of his comedy. Even though it felt slightly odd in the beginning, as the story went forward and we got to know Alan, the exaggerated comical rendering made sense. Anarkali Marikar plays the role of the silent alien, and her stares were enough to create humor in scenes, and the postures were also kind of funny. A special mention to Raghavan as well.

Saajan Bakery Since 1962 and Sayanna Varthakal were the previous directorial ventures of Arun Chandu. While one could see sparks of craft in those movies, some of them felt very gimmicky, like the frequent fourth wall-breaking Saajan Bakery, as an attempt to cover up a weak script. Here, the flow with which the story is moving from one scene to another gives you a feeling that they had something solid on paper. The challenge was more about making the audience get into that mockumentary space. But through the initial set of dialogues and character exposition along with POV camera angles, the movie establishes its quirky and absurd setting. And there is this continuous flow of funny dialogue with a satiric undertone. The quality of some of the elements, like the portal and the decayed versions of existing structures, is really top-notch.

Gaganachari is a satire set in a dystopian future, and hence the focus is more on the humor. But by achieving some remarkably good visuals and also using cinematic tools to hide the limitations, Arun Chandu and co-writer Siva Sai have created a movie that will please a cinephile immensely for its sheer courage and conviction. If you are a sucker for something wacky, this movie is definitely going to stay with you.

Final Thoughts

More than perfection, I would say you would feel like clapping for the conviction with which they pulled off this crazy idea.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.