Arishadvarga movie cast: Mahesh Bung, Samyukta Hornad, Avinash, Anju Alva Naik, Nanda Gopal, Sripathi Manjabailu
Arishadvarga movie director: Arvind Kamath
Arishadvarga movie rating: Two and a half stars

A personable young man enters a house by appointment. An inviting female voice on his phone has been holding out the promise of a good time, and a hot date is in the offing. Instead of a warm body in bed, though, Anish (Bung) stumbles upon a cold one stuffed in a cupboard, and from here on, nothing goes according to plan.

For a film which calls itself a ‘neo-noir mystery thriller’, there’s very little literal play of light and shadow. But as the plot unfolds, featuring the unfortunate Anish and an assorted bunch—aspiring actress Saakshi (Hornad), film producer Manjunath (Avinash) and his editor wife Kruthi (Naik), tough cop Ashok (Gopal) and his impassive sidekick Rajaanaa (Manjanabailu), and a couple of others – you can feel the build-up of the darkness.

It takes time to get going, but when it gets to where it wants to, Arshidvarga packs a punch. In the meantime, I found myself getting a tad impatient: the genre requirements of red-herrings and diversionary tactics being effective need sharp, tight writing. On that score, there is some amount of fluffiness and confusion.

But once the film hits its stride, it becomes enjoyable. The most striking performance comes from Nand Gopal as the dour policeman-on-the-job, busy unravelling the identity of the killer. But something about the way he cracks the whip on his subordinate, and responds to the characters under suspicion, you know he’s not your average, playing-by-the-rules cop.

By this point, the mix, where nothing and nobody is as they seem, has got interesting. A much older husband has angrily discovered he is impotent, his young wife keeps trying to maintain the peace while starting something on the side, and the affair, like most affairs, doesn’t end well. Twists arrive rapidly, and everything hurtles to an end which I was blown away by: fully and convincingly noir.


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