In ‘Antakshari’, a fairly engaging thriller directed by Vipin Das, Saiju Kurup plays a music-loving cop who gets involved in a mystery

Posted on April 22, 2022

5


Spoilers ahead…

I wished for more focus in the narrative, but Saiju Kurup holds it all together with one of his strongest performances yet.

antakshari saiju

Let’s first talk about the title – Antakshari – of the Malayalam thriller directed by Vipin Das, now streaming on SonyLIV. Antakshari – as many of you may know – is a game where you sing a song, and the next person has to sing a song beginning with the letter you end your song with. So there are two things at work here. One, a sense of continuity – because the same action, “singing a song”, is carried on over a period of time. And two, there is a sense of unpredictability – because you don’t know which song the next person is going to sing. Now think about a criminal’s actions – say, a thief or a serial killer. Aren’t they similar in structure to antakshari? There is a sense of continuity – because the same action, that of thieving or killing, is carried on over a period of time. And two, there is a sense of unpredictability – because you don’t know who the next victim is.

So, yes. That is the connection between the title and the theme of crime in this thriller, but here’s the surprise. It takes a long time for the connections to become clear. One of the connections is the film song, which plays a very important role in this film. There’s a Yesudas name-drop. The opening scene is that of a family watching a film song on TV. The name of the place where the events play out is Kedaram, which is also the name of a raga. And the cop character played by Saiju Kurup is fond of playing antakshari, whether with his family or with the captives in his station. This makes him stand out as a bit of a cheerful eccentric, and Saiju captures this flavour beautifully.

You can read the rest of the review here:

https://www.galatta.com/malayalam/movie/review/antakshari/

And you can watch the video review here:

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