Anya's Tutorial Review: This Regina Cassandra starrer cyber-horror web series is focused and fascinating
'Anya's Tutorial', in this context, brings in new sensibilities with the confidence that it can engage while telling the story of weak minds and tormented souls.
Title: Anya's Tutorial (web series)
Cast: Nivedhithaa Sathish, Regina Cassandra and others
Director: Pallavi Gangireddy
Streaming On: AHA
(The first season of 'Anya's Tutorial' clocks in 7 episodes in total)
Cyber-horror is a sub-genre our entertainment industry hasn't tapped into much. In the Indian entertainment landscape, the genre is taking baby steps. Debutant director Pallavi Gangireddy attempts something brave in the web series format, never letting the genre overwhelm her or her carefully etched characters. Importantly, she does it by telling a story centered around two female characters.
It all begins as a mystery thriller and takes on the form of a psychological horror story. It assumes the viewer is clued into the nature of the genre and doesn't spoon-feed even when the goings-on become too unhurried.
Lavanya aka Anya (Nivedhithaa Sathish) moves into a creaky house where she expects to find peace in loneliness. She hasn't had a normal relationship with her elder sister Madhu (Regina Cassandra). Soon enough, Anya realizes that the house may well be haunted. But it could be that the ghosts of her past are chasing her on a psychological level.
When Anya starts streaming her horror experiences to thousands, she is catapulted to social media fame in no time. Adolescents who can relate to her loneliness become her cult followers. All the drama puts Madhu in a spot for a reason. The rest of the series is about what really ails Anya, her troubled childhood, Madhu's attempts to prevent Anya from getting out of control, and what Anya achieves in the end, if at all she seeks to achieve something.
The writing displays stretches of brilliance in terms of not revealing its cards. Madhu calling Anya a con artist could mean anything. Is Madhu a victim or a perpretator? She can be both and how fast or late do we get to know her character fully is also an interesting question. She cribs that her life was spoiled by Anya's delusions. Lines like this one keep the viewer guessing about their childhood.
Anya's characterization is surreal, with her silences and eerie dances brimming with an enigma. Her costumes, her conversations with a hacker, and her strange demeanour make for an engaging watch. Without resorting to melodrama, she conveys her trauma.
The series commendably makes the horror genre feel different. Sudden landscape changes, seamless editing, and smooth transitions from one scene to another make 'Anya's Tutorial' technically rich and creatively satisfying.
The themes of loneliness and the life-long impact of childhood abuse have been explored without falling back on cliches. Mainstream Telugu cinema has long reduced the genre to a template. 'Anya's Tutorial', in this context, brings in new sensibilities with the confidence that it can engage while telling the story of weak minds and tormented souls.
The show belongs to debutante Nivedhithaa Sathish (this is her maiden venture in Telugu), whose nuanced performance makes us sympathize with her character. Regina Cassandra is fine.
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Watch the trailer here:
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