Anek (2022): Jeetega Kaun? Hindustan!

“Mission is about people, not projects”. Signifying this quote; writer, producer, and director Anubhav Sinha along with co-producer Bhushan Kumar released a geopolitical action-thriller by the name “Anek” on May 27, 2022. Anek stands for “Many”, which signifies the people of India. The full name of this movie is “Anek: Jeetega Kaun? Hindustan”. The meaning of its subtitle is, “Who Will Win? India”. Anek stars Ayushmann Khurrana as undercover police officer Aman, a.k.a Joshua, who is sent by the Indian government on a dangerous peace mission to the northeast part of the country. The film runs across theaters all over India with a screen time of around 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Starring Ayushmann Khurrana as undercover cop Aman a.k.a Joshua

Anek (2022): Jeetega Kaun? Hindustan Synopsis:

As tensions and conflicts erupt in the northeastern region of India, a fierce undercover cop named Aman (Ayushmann Khurrana) is sent on a mission by the Indian government to negotiate a peace treaty with the tyrannical leader of the northeast, Tiger Sangha (Loitongbam Dorendra).

As Aman disguised by the nickname “Joshua” went to the northeast, he became familiar with the tensions and cultural conflicts prevailing in the region. Tiger Sangha, the self-proclaimed tyrant and military leader of the northeast, is direly against the Indian government.  Also, the civilians of the northeast are reluctant to consider themselves as Indians, and were in a vigorous rebellion with the government. A separatist movement named “Johnson” was at large in the region which involved several children and youths. The Johnson separatist group was against the oppressive reign of Tiger Sangha.

Aman’s mission was to ensure peace and subdue the separatist rebellion. The only way to ensure peace with Tiger Sangha was to eradicate the Johnson separatist group. Will Aman be successful in his mission or fall for the wrath of Tiger Sangha? Watch the full movie to know the endeavors of a daredevil Indian cop on a mission to ensure One India, One Nation!

Introducing Loitongbam Dorendra as Tiger Sangha

Anek (2022): Jeetega Kaun? Hindustan Official Trailer:

The Good:

An Awareness Story About Political Conflict And Cultural Identity

Anek puts the spotlight on the political and cultural disturbances prevalent in the northeastern region of India. Ayushmann Khurrana plays the character of a police officer named Aman who goes undercover, by taking the nickname “Joshua”, to northeast India for signing a peace accord with the authoritarian military leader of the region, Tiger Sangha.

In Anek, the central government of India has been shown not to consider the people of the northeast as Indians. In fact, the people of the northeastern regions of India are of a different appearance as compared to regular Indians. Hence, the Indian government might be considering them as Chinese or Burmese rather than Indians. Not just the Indian government, but the northeastern Indians too do not consider themselves to be a part of India. Rather, they are rebelling against the government in an endeavor to get separated from India.

Scenes in Anek depict huge civilian and the separatist conflict in the northeast along with excessive police brutality where northeastern people are being ruthlessly murdered while some separatists are being stripped and tortured in prison camps.

This story about the political and cultural conflicts prevalent in northeast India is true but after watching the movie, I can feel that the situations have been spiced-up and amplified to a great extent.

Ayushmann Khurrana’s Transformation

If you are not aware of who Ayushmann Khurrana is, let me tell you that he is worshiped as the “God of Sex” in Bollywood! Ayushmann has been playing roles of homosexuals, transsexuals, a sperm donor, a man who has an affair with a trans woman and later regrets it, a man who disguises his voice over the phone to replicate that of a woman for calling other men, and even a man with erectile dysfunction who suffers marital problems. These are the kinds of roles he has played in whatever movies he has done to date.

This is probably the first time in the history of Indian cinema that Ayushmann has been forced to get rid of his homosexual image, and has been represented as a fierce and violent undercover police officer or in short, a real daring macho man who can go up to any extent for the sake of his country!

Andrea Kevichusa as female boxer Aido in Anek

I must agree; what a transformation! Ayushmann Khurrana has done away with his lanky looks and has gained several pounds of muscle mass for his role as undercover police officer Aman a.k.a Joshua in Anek. He has sported a trimmed hairstyle and a dense beard in order to amplify his beefed-up physique in this movie.

Intense Gun Fights

If you are an action lover and enjoy some intense gun action scenes, you are bound to find Anek exciting to watch. The film’s screenplay is loaded with gun action sequences from top to bottom. After every five to ten minutes, you will get to see intense combats involving the police, goons, and civilians. However, the movie contains fewer hand-to-hand combats and more gun fights.

Gripping Dialogues

Most of the dialogues in Anek are patriotic and signify India as one nation. The dialogues in this movie are strong, and clearly indicate Aman’s mission to unite the northeastern region with the rest of India. I must credit Anubhav Sinha for framing such amazing and impactful dialogues which are sure to instill a sense of patriotism in the heart of any Indian citizen.

Exquisite Cinematography

The cinematography by Ewan Mulligan in Anek is captivating. I had a visually spectacular experience upon watching this movie at the theater. The camerawork comprised wide-angle shots of the magnificent northeastern landscapes and involved drone footage as well. This spectacular camerawork was further amplified by thunderous visual effects which comprised ear-rumbling machine gun firings, and bomb blasts.

The Bad:

Confusing Screenplay

The screenplay of Anek co-written by Anubhav Sinha along with Sima Agarwal and Yash Keswani is extremely confusing and will fail to engage you. I can assure you that out of an entire theater filled with audiences; only around five percent of the people will be able to grasp the concept of this movie and understand the proceedings of its screenplay in detail. In short, Anek is not a movie meant for everyone but is only for those who have the patience and ability to analyze and understand a movie’s plot and screenplay from the beginning to the climax. People who are watching this movie just for the sake of entertainment will surely have a tough time and may end up getting confused or bored. Such a confusing screenplay is not just the result of a poor script but also of the poor scene editing done by Yasha Ramchandani which made the movie totally incomprehensible during the first half.

Ayushmann Khurrana and J.D. Chakravarthy in a scene from Anek

Several scenes in Anek showcase tensions prevailing in the northeastern part of India where after about every five to ten minutes, extreme gun violence has been shown. The militants of the region have been shown ruthlessly killing people. Also, excessive police brutality has been shown where the police can be seen torturing the arrested militants and civilians in prison camps.

The screenplay of Anek doesn’t make it clear to the audiences the reason for the occurrence of such tensions and conflicts in the northeast. It is not clear as to with whom the northeastern Indians are fighting. Are they fighting among themselves? Are they protesting against Tiger Sangha? Or are they rebelling against the central government of India? As these matters are not made clear within the screenplay, this movie may leave you utterly confused if you are not made familiar with its storyline prior to watching it.

Anek’s screenplay also fails to register emotions within you. You will get to see innocent civilians resorting to arms and weapons to protect their territory but you will find yourself so confused that you will not experience yourself getting emotionally attached to their characters.

Unsatisfactory Performances

What acting could Ayushmann Khurrana possibly have done with a screenplay which is loaded with gun violence and prison camp torture of militants and innocent civilians? Ayushmann can be seen indulging in some intense gun fights, driving cars for a long duration, and making a provoking sniffing sound every now and then to amplify his “manly” character. But at certain instances, I felt that he was very much eager to shed the manly cop skin he was wearing and transform into his comical homosexual avatar. This manly role of a fierce undercover cop seemed to be getting a bit too much for him to hold on to. Anyways, jokes apart!

Andrea Kevichusa did not appear impressive in the character of female boxer Aido in Anek. Aido has been shown to be oppressed by the locals of her region, and her family members as well. She is not allowed to participate in the national boxing championship because of her cultural identity as a northeast Indian. She also gets romantically involved with Aman.

Even if Andrea Kevichusa has been depicted as a top-level national boxing champion in the movie but her looks are just the opposite to that of a female boxer. She is ultra-slim and has a fragile frame, and her appearance in the movie had the least resemblance with that of a female boxer. The bet she was rejected participation in the boxing tournament not because of her cultural identity but simply because after seeing her fragile frame people might have thought that she was not capable enough as a female boxer. In fact, I think it would have been better if the filmmakers would have thought of casting Andrea Kevichusa as a size-zero model in the movie rather than a boxer.

Loitongbam Dorendra who played the lead villain Tiger Sangha in Anek looked disappointing and did not suit his role of an authoritative tyrant.

J.D. Chakravarthy, Manoj Pahwa, and Kumud Mishra are top-class actors but had very short roles in the movie. I believe that due to their short screen time, they could not live up to their respective characters to their full potential.

Disturbing Scenes Depicting Prison Tortures

I appreciate Anubhav Sinha’s efforts in making us aware of the reality of northeast India through Anek. However, I feel that certain scenes in the movie depicting the horrendous prison camp tortures of the civilians by the police may be disturbing for some people to watch.

The Verdict:

Anubhav Sinha has showcased a weak direction through Anek. As a director, one needs to make sure that he is directing a screenplay which can be understood by a major section of the audiences who are watching a film for entertainment only. However, Sinha’s direction in Anek takes the opposite path. In fact, very few people, whom I term as a “thin section of ultra-class audience”, will be able to clearly understand the storyline and screenplay of this movie as to what is actually going on throughout the entire runtime.

The “thin section of ultra-class audience”, whom I am referring to here, are those people who are very politically inclined and will appreciate this geopolitical story and screenplay. Such people will be all praises toward this film and they will consider this as an effort of Bollywood to bring a sensitive political and social issue for the first time on the big screens.

Even if Anek’s screenplay is confusing, I appreciate the fact that it did not divert itself to a romance drama which most Bollywood movies focus on. The romance between Aman and Aido has been kept short while the plot proceeds with its political tensions and war concept.

Ayushmann Khurrana with director Anubhav Sinha on the sets of Anek

An unappreciable part in the script of Anek is that it doesn’t disclose the exact state in the northeast where such conflicts are prevailing. There are several states in northeast India which include Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura etc. The film takes its narrative to a fictitious location in the northeast which is simply designated by the initials “NE”, which itself signifies the North East. I am also eager to know how Anubahv Sinha came up with the character of Tiger Sangha. This authoritative tyrannical military leader of the northeast looks familiar to me, and if you look closely, he will appear familiar to you as well! In fact more than northeast India, this movie appeared to have been shot in Kim-Jong-un’s North Korea, and the tyrannical character of Tiger Sangha appeared as none other than Kim Jong-un himself to me. I believe Sinha did get his inspiration from the North Korean dictator while writing the script for this film. I am saying so because at present, there is no such tyrant or authoritarian who is ruling northeast India. The character of Tiger Sangha is completely fictitious.

I could not make out any logic from the climax of Anek. Aman has been shown trying to arrest the separatist group of people alive, and did not follow the orders of the government to shoot them at sight. Instead, as Tiger Sangha’s gang intervened while he and the other cops were trying to arrest the separatists; they shot and killed Tiger Sangha’s men instead! Then how on earth can they now expect a peace treaty with Tiger Sangha? Anek fails to explain the entire logic of Aman’s peace mission with its climax. The movie ends by showing Aido competing in a national boxing match, and winning the gold medal.

Besides watching the political and cultural tensions and conflicts which instilled some amount of thrill, the audiences might have been even more thrilled to watch Ayushmann Khuranna for the first time as a “real man” in this movie, not the comical homosexual or the erectile dysfunction patient which he has been portrayed in the movies he has acted in till now. If you are also eager to watch this new “manly avatar” of Ayushmann Khuranna, then you can very well consider watching Anek even if you would never be able to understand its story or screenplay at the first watch.

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Overall
6/10
6/10
  • Acting - 5/10
    5/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 4.5/10
    4.5/10
  • Setting/Theme - 8/10
    8/10
  • Watchability - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Rewatchability - 2.5/10
    2.5/10
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About Subhadeep Kumar Ganguli

Meta film critic. Posting on behalf of Nirmal Word Services, content service agency in India.