OTT Review: Anya’s Tutorial

Streaming On : AHA
Starring: Regina Cassandra, Nivedhithaa Satish
Director : Pallavi Gangireddy
Music: Arrol Corelli
Banner: Arka Media

AHA is bankrolling some good web series in the last year or so. Next in line is a psychological thriller called Anya’s Tutorial. The show stars Regina and Nivedhithaa Sathish and is directed by Pallavi Gangireddy. It is produced by Arka Media Works and has seven episodes in total.

Plot

Lavanya(Nivedhithaa Sathish) and Madhu(Regina) are sisters who go through a troubled childhood. Once Lavanya finishes her education, she moves out and rents an apartment alone. Sadly for her, Covid lockdown gets announced and she gets stuck at home. Lavanya rakes up a plan and starts an Instagram handle with the name Anya’s Tutorial. She fakes her audience by showcasing that her house is haunted. But things change so badly for her that she gets embroiled in the horror elements herself. All these gory aspects are related to her sister Madhu. What is the role of Madhu in this whole story and how does Lavanya survive her fate is the story.

Performances

By looking at the promos, one would think that Regina is the showrunner of the series. But that is not the case as young actress Nivedhitaa Satish is the show-stealer. She as Anya is impressive in her tailor-made role and emotes beautifully. The scenes when Anya gets possessed by evil spirits are emoted terrifically by the actress. She holds the screen with her intense looks and screen presence. Regina has shades of grey in her role. For some reason, her role is not etched properly and Regina’s act looks a bit forced. But she comes to her own during the last two episodes and is good. The rest of the cast is new and has done their bit.

Technicalities

Pallavi Gangireddy has directed this series and she has handled her technical team superbly. The editing is super crisp and the manner in which scenes transform from horror to psychological are executed perfectly. The show is high on VFX and full marks to the makers in this department. The spooky elements look real and do not spoil the mood of the audience. The basic sensibilities and the usage of social media to engage the audience is thought of cleverly by the writers. BGM was not that great and could have been more thumping to create an impact. The writing is novel and the aspect of loneliness created in the story of the two sisters could have been elevated more.

Analysis

Psychological thrillers are a bit new for Telugu audiences and one needs to have a good command of the craft to engage the audience. But when it comes to director Pallavi Gandireddy, she starts the show on a confusing note. The first three episodes just establish the storyline and repeated scenes are thrown at us. The audience keeps looking for horror elements and thrills which only come and go in parts. Also, the audience gets confused as to what is Anya’s actual motive.

The ball actually starts rolling only when Regina is given importance. The time when Anya is possessed by evil spirits and how she copes with it is showcased in a gritty manner. The way Anya kills a few and how her childhood has grey issues with her sister played by Regina is brought into the picture convincingly. Anya’s Tutorial makes use of technology a lot but also fails in the logic department. Even when the youngsters start getting into deeper problems due to this spooky page, the cop angle is not brought in and crimes keep happening on a convenient note.

Pallavi, the director has failed in multiple aspects when it comes to clarity in the story. In most web series, there are solid flashbacks that show disturbing incidents that are a root cause for a criminal angle to develop in people. What are the actual problems between the sisters, why is their mother silent, and what has she gone through in life, all these aspects are left aside in the end.

More than anything, there is no reason shown for the horror elements taking place and the climax twist. All this is left for season two to take over. Finally, the taking, camerawork, and narration keep you hooked for the most part but there are not many scenes that keep you on the edge of the seats. Probably, some more horror elements and a simple screenplay would have made Anya’s Tutorial a more engaging watch.

Bottom Line – Engaging but a bit confusing