Ayushmann Khurrana has made a name for himself in the Hindi film industry with his unique movies and talented acting skills. Anek, directed by Anubhav Sinha, takes on a complex issue and tries to mould it into a narrative that the viewers can enjoy and thoroughly investigate. However, unlike Article 15, which delivered on its promise and tackled the significant social issues with utmost dexterity and clearness, Anek loses its plot and gets intermingled with other sub narratives that take the focus issue of the film away.
Anubhav Sinha is the director who helmed the proceedings for three blockbuster social dramas, Mulk, Thappad and Article 15. Therefore it was expected that Sinha would justify the powerful matter at hand in Anek. However, the movie strays away at some points due to including one too many things in the story. Still, the message that Anek sought to deliver can be interpreted by the viewers, which is a thing that works in favour of the film. It won’t be far-fetched to say that the complexity of the movie’s main issue has led Sinha to some strange choices, but overall he still manages to carve out a drama which can open up the path for dialogue.
Anek focuses on the tension between rebel groups and the government of India in the Northeast regions of the country. The movie also touches upon the issue of politics and aspirations. How circumstances can guide a person to become something else entirely can be termed another one of the film’s themes. Ayushmann Khurrana portrays Joshua, an undercover agent. He is handed the responsibility of exposing rebel uprising and somehow helps solve the rising turmoil and political unrest in the Northeast regions.
Joshua encounters a young female boxer named Aido, essayed by the film’s female lead, Andrea Kevichüsa. Aido is subjected to bias and racism while chasing her dream of securing a place on the Indian national boxing team. Interestingly, Aido’s father, a school teacher, is working in the shadows as a rebel. Joshua secretly goes against Aido’s father, Wangnao, played by Mipham Otsal, to stop the rebel groups from wreaking havoc against the government.
Anubhav Sinha has done all the hard work in his directorial drama by picking up the right locations, cast and dialogues. He has purposefully used the local actors from the northeast to appeal to the viewers and maintain a sense of authenticity in his film. The severe conflict, which is the film’s main selling point, has been highlighted with caution and, at times, gives off the vibe that Sinha has ultimately constrained his narrative to fit the issue. The movie tries hard to keep the viewers engaged, but the film’s length, which is almost 2 hours and 30 minutes, works against Sinha’s Anek. It could have been a bit shorter and precise with its storytelling.
Putting those trivial concerns aside, one needs to applaud Sinha’s daringness in bringing out an obscure but essential issue to the forefront of Indian cinema. Anek is high on patriotism and shows care for people through its gut-wrenching scenes of racial abuse and biases. Ayushmann Khurrana is again stellar with his performance, while the debutant Andrea Kevichüsa has also impressed with her first feature film. The movie is a must-watch for its gritty pursual of serious issues.