Saturday, September 12, 2009

Anukokunda Oka Roju

Anukokunda Oka Roju is one of the most suspenseful Indian films I've seen. Of course the basic premise -- girl is drugged at a party and wakes up not remembering anything that's happened -- lends itself pretty well to suspense, but apparently the Hindi remake, Sunday, got rid of a lot of the suspense in favor of comedy. (I haven't seen Sunday, so I'm just basing this opinion on the reviews I've read. It is clear from these reviews, though, that there are some significant differences between the two, not just in tone but also in plot.)

Sahasra (Charme) is an aspiring singer and college student who lives with her father, evil stepmother, and half-brother and sister in a typical busy neighborhood. When her family goes out of town, her friend drags her along to a wild party, where some guys slip Rophynol into her drink. After joining in the party for a few minutes, she wanders off into the darkness -- and wakes up in her own bed with no memory of anything that happened at the party or afterwards.

She looks at the clock, sees that she's going to be late for class, and runs off to school, only to discover that it's actually Sunday and there are no classes. Apparently she never keeps track of the date well, because she just shrugs this off and goes back to normal life without any concern about the mix-up. But then, strange things start happening.

A taxi driver starts following her around insisting that she owns him money. A doctor notices fingernail marks on her neck, and she can't remember how they got there. Someone tries to kill her, and the policeman who comes to her rescue seems much more interested in her than in her attacker.

Gradually, the story of what happened to her while she was drugged unfolds. And by the end, everything actually makes sense. (Well, almost everything. I still don't understand how she could be so oblivious to the fact that she has no memory of a day of her life, especially after she's been given reason to wonder whether anything happened the night of the party.) Even the comic relief guy ends up being relevant to the plot in the end.

If you want to see a rare heroine-centric Telugu film, if you're a fan of Charme, or if you like well-scripted, suspenseful Indian action films, you might want to give Anukokunda Oka Roju a watch.