Chances of one coming across a police officer who would make suspects play a game of Antakshari are almost as nil as finding a psycho killer who would make his victim play the musical game. In Antakshari, we get both.
But then, initially, we are taken in by the novelty and the wit in Circle Inspector Das’ (Saiju Kurup) interactions with suspects, which are all built around Antakshari, the game that involves singing a song starting with the last letter of the one sung by the previous player.
The fun does not last though. Soon, Das gets an anonymous call challenging him to play the same game, failing which 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.
Direction: Vipin Das
Starring : Saiju Kurup, Priyanka Nair, Sudhi Koppa
The path to the killer is strewn with so many red herrings and parallel tracks that the scriptwriter even forgets to bring closure to some of these in the end. There is the doctor (Kannan Nayar) at the clinic where Das’ wife Chitra (Priyanka Nair) works. He is a pervert and has things lying around in his office that could connect him to the crimes, yet we clearly know that this is just an attempt at misleading us, by the half-hearted way in which these sequences are written and staged. The same is the case with the part involving a local politician (Vijay Babu), who is also portrayed as a possible suspect.
Another diversion comes in the form of a side story involving a budding musician, his abusive step-father and a mysterious girl next door. Later in the film, an attempt is made to connect this story to the central narrative, but it appears contrived. What works for the film for a good part is the fact that it manages to keep the suspense alive, but the slow and effective build-up seems wasted in the end, going by the twisted and unconvincing conclusion it arrives at.
It might seem like a good thing when mental health 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 comes in at multiple places, in a story from the past, and within the police force.
The novelty factor in Antakshari wears off quickly, even as the unconvincing climax takes the sheen off the careful build-up.
The film is streaming on Sony Liv