What: Debutante director Smita Singh’s Andaman is a clean, chronological and hard-hitting metaphor of hope emerging from the darkness of Covid pandemic. It’s a simple, steady, stirring & staying gem.
Andaman movie synopsis
Abhimanyu Pratap (Anand Raaj), an IAS aspirant, a focused and honest man of good virtues is struggling with his failed attempts to clear the coveted high-profile Government job exams and for the time being has to settle as a Panchayat Secretary in a district called Bhulanpur in Madhya Pradesh.
Covid 19 hits the nation and Abhimanyu is made the In-charge of a quarantine centre in Bhulanpur (nicknamed as Andaman for its remote isolation from the district/state/country/world). Andaman is separated from the world by a river and by road it takes 65 Km to reach that isolated place.
Jhallu (Jay Shankar Pandey) the elected Pradhan of the village (on paper) is actually a low caste labourer of the landlord.
How Abhimanyu runs the quarantine centre and make the local people aware of the disease amidst all the class/religion struggles and powerplay forms the crux of the narrative.
OTT movie Andaman movie review
The focus, determination of a man with good and right virtues Abhimanyu against the ignorance, carelessness coined with the cliché centuries old orthodoxy, patriarchy and discrimination prevailing in the society marred with the chaos of an unseen uncontrolled pandemic. Andaman a nick name to a pace called Bhulanpur (this name also metaphor – bhulan from the word bhulna – forgettable).
First timer Smita Singh who dedicates this to Munshi Premchand adapts a realistic, sly and affecting approach by slowly and gradually making the audience dip in the valley of pain, sorrow, aghast, love, betrayal, struggle, hope and despair.
There have been movies on pandemic from time to time in mainstream 28 Days, 3 Monkeys, Contagion from Hollywood, the regional have been Virus, the OTT sector had the series The Gone Game which I have enjoyed.
Andaman is a rare experience – caused it’s an Indian indie, reasonably arty and amazingly powerful coming with a soul-searching message without going preachy at all.
Smita Singh excellent narration compliments Anand Raaj’s story, screenplay and dialogues.
Anand Raaj leads the way with his amazingly effortless act. Jay Shankar Pandey as Jhallu is simple and realistic. Good support comes from Vishal Agiran and Amrita Pal as Halku's wife Jhumki. Sanjay Mishra is fine and Rajesh Tailang is right into the skin of his character.
Debutant director Smita Singh’s indie gem Andaman is a shining metaphor of hope emerging from the darkness of pandemic. This is a cinema which is simple, steady, stirring & staying. An extra for the overall earnestness.