I watched Arundhati, a Telugu supernatural thriller. This movie eluded me for a long time. Since there was a power cut on a Saturday mid-day, it was a good idea to spend the afternoon watching a movie. The plot is beautifully woven with mythology. You can see the essence and power of Shakti at its regal best. The fable of Lord Indra’s weapon, the Vajrayudha (made from the backbone of Sage Dadichi) is borrowed here. For a Telugu movie, the role of the protagonist is one of the best I have seen, author-backed and believably real, that too for a woman!

Anushka’s alternate roles as the regal Jaijamma and the modern day Arundhati is beyond description. The supernatural spin might be a lil’ too much but she handled it so well. There are a few aha moments. I especially liked young Arundhati, with her doe eyes and when they spewed anger, they sure were full of fire. She was a delight to watch when she danced, when she practised fencing, horse- riding and also, when she pronounced the death sentence (almost with that finality) to her dangerously errant cousin and brother-in-law, Pasupathi (Sonu Sood). The ritual of entering the water to wash away the temporal-ness of her present life and take up the mantle of the kingdom was a strong poignant moment. There is a confident aggression which converts into a steely determination later on.

This lady loves red, her red saris and the self-portrait.  As long as things were under control, they were. When famine and disease afflicted her kingdom thanks to the mischief of Pasuapti’s pret atma, she wore the saffron robes and gave up her life to fight the ultimate battle. That is another moment. She didn’t flinch at her painful, slow and self-inflicted death. Those kohled eyes and the patch of vermillion, they are images that stay with you.

I won’t discuss the plot with you, it is up there for everyone, pretty predictable. Sonu Sood was good, extremely menacing and maniacal. I would hate to meet his mother (in the movie), she looks very hideous and scary. The Aghori Babas added that exotic flavour. The rest of the cast are the usual uncles and aunts, children and parents. Sayaji Shinde as the ghost buster Anwar was reassuring. Not as spooky as a Goosebump read.

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