Antakshari Movie Review: A Musical Game With a Serial Killer That Falls Rather Flat

The odds of finding a cop who would have suspects play an Antakshari game are almost as nil as finding a psychopathic killer who would have his victim play the musical game. In Antakshariwe get both.

But then, initially, we’re taken by the novelty and wit of Circle Inspector Das (Saiju Kurup)’s interactions with the suspects, all of which are built around Antakshari, the game of singing a song beginning with the last letter of the one sung by the previous player.

The fun doesn’t last, however. Soon Das receives an anonymous call daring him to play the same game or his daughter’s life would be in danger. He refuses and his daughter comes close to death at the hands of a masked man with a song on his lips. Das and a young officer (Sudhi Koppa) begin an investigation into past cases where the killer used similar methods to strangle victims.

Antakshari

Direction: Vipin Das

With: Saiju Kurup, Priyanka Nair, Sudhi Koppa

The path to the killer is strewn with so many red herrings and parallel tracks that the screenwriter even forgets to close some of them at the end. There’s the doctor (Kannan Nayar) at the clinic where Das’ wife Chitra (Priyanka Nair) works. He’s a pervert and he’s got things lying around his office that could link him to the crimes, but we clearly know that’s just an attempt to mislead us, in the coy way in which these sequences are written and directed. The same goes for the part involving a local politician (Vijay Babu), who is also presented as a possible suspect.

Side story

Another diversion comes in the form of a side story involving an aspiring musician, his abusive stepfather, and a mysterious girl next door. Later in the film, an attempt is made to connect this story to the central narrative, but it feels contrived. What works for the film for a good part is the fact that it manages to maintain the suspense, but the slow and efficient build ultimately feels wasted, down to the twisted and unconvincing conclusion it arrives at.

It might sound like a good thing when sanity becomes a topic of discussion, but the killer’s random fixations that lead to a series of murders seem too far-fetched to shock us. Caste discrimination is also an aspect that occurs in several places, in a history of the past and within the police force.

The novelty factor in Antakshari wears off quickly, even if the unconvincing climax takes away the luster from the careful buildup.

The film is streaming on Sony Liv

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