It is now something of an established fact, that the tag of ‘Indie Movie’ can either make or break a movie in our country. It’s a crucifix carried by every independent self financed Film Maker, as he ( or in this case she ) has to be on the top of the game, to actually get a proper release and land considerable amount of recognition. On the other hand, that very tag, can, in rare cases, get one recognised within the circles of serious movie followers. It in itself can produce out a leeway into the commercial market, and more often than not, lead a headstart into the awards season. ‘The Anushree Experiments’ by Director Aparna Malladi, is a best mix of both these categories, treading that fine line, between commercial success potential and critical endearment. A perfect prototype of the word, ‘Indie Movie’ The Anushree Experiments ( referred to as ‘Anushree’ henceforth ), delivers that solemn relatability and a simulating personal experience, that not many movies in this age of cinema can boast of, Indie or otherwise.
Storyline : Anushree ( Ulrika Krishnamurti ) is a young engineering student in a typical Andhra household, who happens to mess up her grades on a continual basis. This leads to her parents getting convinced that probably the only eventuality for Anushree left to be taken up, is for her get married. Therein starts the story arch, one which shows how Anushree, a girl made up of unclear dreams and flying ambitions, finally finds herself, and manages to wriggle out of the prospective alliances, courtesy some ingeniously designed strategies and some ‘Freedom’ movement inspired antics. Through this journey of self discovery, Anushree trying to deal with a pesky sister, ( played ever so fluidly by Anitha Kalathara of ‘The Mindy Project’ fame ), jousting with her adamant parents and coping with men in her life, is every one of us in a great many ways.
What Works For The Film :
- The innate ability to establish a certain realistic connect with the general movie goer is something ‘ Anushree ‘ can very well boast off. There is never a frame in the whole movie, where one is not impressed by the tantrum throw-ups by everyone of the lead actors, in a way which is genuine and peppered with breathing life. Ulrika Krishnamurti, the protagonist, lends a voice which is instantly relatable to. One ends up rooting for her till the end, ( which in itself is a huge achievement for a movie running on her shoulders ), because of subtle and poignant vulnerability and imperative steely will, she projects.
- The perfectly carved out supporting cast lends able support to Anushree, in bringing out her chaotic nature and whining impatience, and their interactions and dynamics deliver some of the best moments of the movie, ( look out for the skillfully done instance in which, Anushree arrives at one of her guy friend’s place seeking some class notes ).
- The movie boasts of a great technical team. Neatly captured montages, crisply written lines ( Wynne Tsing and Aparna Malladi ), and a good amount of detailing which went into portraying a 21 year old girl in all her imperfect perfection. Mentions to an engaging musical score ( Tomas Peire ) which gives out an involving experience to the viewer right from the word go.
What Doesn’t Quite Work For It :
- The second half of the film, suffers from lack of pacing. The movie slightly loses it’s grip on the protagonist’s problems ( which works for it in the first half of it ) as it tries to deal with or resolve way too many things at one go. A low level of editing incoherency, leaves one wondering where the film is headed to. However, as the movie progresses to it’s final act, the film finds it’s soul again, and salvages the slight hiccup.
- Within the talks of the protagonist, and her accompanies, somewhere she barely just manages to drive home the turbulence neatly veiled under her erratic behavioural streaks. Though her internal conflict is very much palpable most of the times, it doesn’t quite come across a few couple of times in her character establishment.
- Unexplained closures for characters, which seem important at the onset is one other thing that don’t quite fit into the narrative. Couple of prospective grooms, love interests ( both of the protagonist and her sister’s ) and grandparents ( however they do portray brilliance in their roles for as long as they appear, making one crave for more of them ) to name it.
Final Verdict : The Anushree Experiments is one of those rare films which makes you take up a journey through a world which is known and palpable, yet so very often will-fully ignored. It is not grand in it’s ambitions, but does what it sets out to do, with an unmatched poise. That to tell a story which is resoundingly true, the taste of which lingers on long after the movie comes to an end..