Cast: Fahadh Faasil, Sai Pallavi, Atul Kulkarni, Lena, Renji Panicker
What attract one to Athiran initially are its stellar cast (Fahadh Faasil, Sai Pallavi, Atul Kulkarni, Renji Panicker, Lena etc.) and the screenplay written by P.F. Mathews (whose previous film was the critically-acclaimed Ee.Ma.Yau). It’s the tale of an asylum for mentally ill persons, which may not be what it seems. Into this asylum comes a new, unwanted guest,
Dr. M.K. Nair (Fahadh Faasil), and some horrifying events follow. Directed by debutant Vivek, Athiran is a psychological thriller.
Dr. M.K. Nair is a psychiatrist in government service, sent to a remote palace-turned-mental asylum which is a mystery to outsiders. On a mission to investigate and report the unnatural ways of treatments on inmates by
Dr. Benjamin (Atul Kulkarni), the caretaker and doctor at the asylum, M.K. Nair is forced to dig deep, finding the intriguing truths about the facility and its inmates.
Fahadh Faasil, who plays the lead, has performed effortlessly as always. A few complex scenes demand the best from the actor. Atul Kulkarni's screen presence is posh, subtle and praiseworthy. But it is Sai Pallavi, playing an autistic but mysterious character called Nitya, who thrills everyone. With just three or four dialogues in the entire film, she comes up with a brilliant performance. The other actors including Lena, Sudev Nair and Renji Panicker have done justice to their roles.
One of the drawbacks of the movie is the ambiguity and candour of some characters. P.F Mathews’ script, after his exceptional work for Ee. Ma. Yau., lacks that moving factor in terms of some characters and at times, story line. It lacks fire for a jaw-dropping experience and the scare factor at some point is drab. Exceptional cinematography by Anu Moothedath and background score by Ghibran stand out. The art team’s effort to make the asylum look original, especially the furnishing and the walls, remind us of some scenes in the cult classic The Shining.
Since the trailer release of the movie, the audience has been wondering if it is an adaptation of Martin Scorsese’s classic film Shutter Island and Brad Anderson’s mystery Stonehearst Asylum. It is evident that some of the plots are inspired from both movies. Nonetheless, the execution by the director is good considering the fact that it is his debut work.
It is a onetime watch for those who like psychological thrillers with some mind-bending and adrenaline rush moments.