Axone Movie Review: Aji aise touchy tasty cinema banaya karo

Axone movie review is here. Streaming on Netflix from June 12, 2020, the movie stars Sayani Gupta, Lin Laishram, Lanuakum Ao, Tenzing Dalha, Asenla Jamir, Dolly Ahluwalia and Vinay Pathak in pivotal roles. Produced by Yoodle Films, Axone is directed by Nicholas Kharkongor.

Immediate reaction when the end credit roles
Question: What lies beneath this dish from Northeast – Axone?
Answer: Humanity, acceptance, joy of togetherness.

Axone

The Story of Axone?
Upasna (Sayani Gupta) and Chanbi (Lin Laishram) want to prepare a special North Eastern Dish, Axone Pork, for their best friend Minam’s (Asenla Jamir) wedding. The day is crucial for Minam and her friends. Minam has her interview for IAS and the dish which releases a strong aroma is planned as a surprise for her wedding night. All the preparations are getting done. But, Upasna, Chanbi, Minam and her friends from Northeast are in Delhi.

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Upasna, Chanbi stay as tenant in the house owned by Nani (Dolly Ahluwalia) who lives with her jobless son in law played by Vinay Pathak and his son Shiv (Rohan Joshi).

The pungent odour of Akhuni (Axone) throws a challenge to Upasna and her friends.

How Upasana and Chanbi overcome all odds combining a mix of funny chaos, disturbing discrimination, pleasing reunion, love, hate and coming of age finds the crux of this movie.

Axone movie review

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So what you call a ‘home’? Your ‘janmabhoomi’ (birthplace) or ‘karmabhoomi’ (work place). The discrimination on looks, language, gender, caste, creed, colour, Nicholas Kharkongor’s Axone touches all. For the mainstream audience it’s like Molly Zimik (Masochon V. Zimik) and Mary Ralte (Kimi Laldawla) from Chak De starring Shah Rukh Khan getting un update with a heartfelt coming of age.

The recent George Floyd incident in America, the rigid prejudice against people having short eyes being tagged as ‘chini’ Chinese no matter if they are from Nepal, India, Japan, Burma, Thailand, etc. We humans have spared none. Type casted a Punjabi, Bihari, Goan, South Indian, Arabian, American, Russian, Englishmen, Parsi, Irani, Afghani… the list goes on and on and on.

Axone brings this discrimination to the forefront with a story of North-eastern characters who first face struggle to prove they are Indians and then other barriers follow – language, sex, food, etc.

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The most remarkable feature of Nicholas Kharkongor’s story telling is that while exploring the travails of his lead characters, the talented filmmaker (Mantra previous) creates a graph where he traces the interpersonal relationships of his characters and in due course the finger pointing gets poking and provoking as it questions people from both the sides.

And all these comes out without any degree of preach, it happens naturally.

Tajdar Junaid’s music that showcases the sound from the land of Seven Sisters – Northeast blends nicely with the proceedings. The folk influence from North-eastern states like Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim provides a fresh charm. The surprise and emotionally nostalgic use of Rajesh Roshan’s “Uthe Sabke Kadam, Dekho Rum Pum Pum” sung by Lata Mangeshkar, Amit Kumar, and Pearl Padamsee from late Basu Da – Basu Chatterjee’s Baton Baton Mein offers a tribute to the late master filmmaker Basu Chatterjee.

Performances
Sayani Gupta is perfect. Right from her looks to her accent to her emotions, the actress nails it with perfection.

Lin Laishram as Chanbi – the one who knows what she wants, speaks her heart, and has a balance attitude is strong and in complete command of her role.

Lanuakum Ao’s as Bendang is just brilliant. Struggling with a haunted past and the victim of the discrimination, the leaves an impression.

Vinay Pathak is a delight. Dolly Ahluwalia has her moments. Rohan Joshi as Shiv is charmingly funny.

Other actors like Tenzing Dalha as Zorem, Asenla Jamir as Minam and Merenla Imsong as Balamon chip in with good support.

Flaws
The ‘Nepali’ angle in the character of Upasna is weakly structured. What the hell was Adil Hussain doing over here. Back story of Balamon could have added wonders.

Conclusion
Told with compassion, with a touch of melancholy, sense of understanding and coming of age wonder. Axone reveals the profound truths of acceptance and existence in a simple one-day story, ending on a note that is achingly bittersweet, no matter where you’re from.

A love letter to independence filled with hope (that is what we all need today), no matter where you call home. Do hang out with this Axone gang from the land of seven sisters – Northeast, It’s a world you won’t want to leave. And finally, the number Uthe Sabke Kadam, Dekho Rum Pum Pum. Going with an extra for that nostalgia that reminded me of the great Basu Da.

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Critic Rating
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