‘Anya’s Tutorial’ Web Series Review: Nivedhithaa Satish and Regina Cassandra Rekindle Horror Drama

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Nivedhithaa Satish and Regina Cassandra launch director Pallavi Gangireddy’s Telugu-Tamil web series that explores fractured family ties.

Nivedhithaa Satish and Regina Cassandra launch director Pallavi Gangireddy’s Telugu-Tamil web series that explores fractured family ties.

For nearly four episodes, the horror is confined to the moody setting and not much happens. At one point, when a character asks Anya aka Lavani aka Lavanya (Nivedhithaa Satish) to turn on all the lights in the room and comments that the dark, moody lighting is misleading, it sounds great.

However, the writer-director stirs curiosity about the events of Anya’s Tutorial, the protagonist’s social media channel focused on makeup tutorials, until a turn of events changes the channel’s identity.

In the series, the weirdness doesn’t come from manipulative jumpscares. The isolation of the COVID-19 lockdown coupled with fractured family ties sets the stage for horror drama.

Anya’s Tutorial

With: Nivedhithaa Satish, Regina Cassandra

Directed by: Pavani Gangireddy

Broadcast on: Aha Telugu and Aha Tamil

Some of the stock items are in place, such as a flickering light bulb, leaky pipe, and broken mirrors. Yet beneath the atmosphere lurks a story (script and story by Sowmya Sharma) that goes back and forth to explore the childhoods of sisters Lavanya and Madhu (Regina Cassandra) who are left to fend for themselves by their exhausted, frustrated single mother . and bored of having to struggle to make ends meet. In a dilapidated place that is supposed to be haunted, Lavanya as a child senses the presence of strangers. Madhu is frustrated at not being able to attend regular school and having to take care of a mind-blowing younger sister.

The layers peel off quite slowly and require patience in the early episodes. The payoff comes in the form of characters that aren’t perfectly clean. Emotional, hurt and bruised egos cause the past to never be treated as the past. Small touches such as Madhu refusing to address her sister like Anya and sticking with Lavani add to the fight between the characters. The child actors Nanditha and Divya as well as the adults, played by Nivedhithaa and Regina, make these complex characters work. Given her background, Regina effortlessly portrays her anger and concern and is impressive when she steps into the frame. Nivedhithaa comes into its own in the later episodes, featuring Anya with horror-inflicted grace. Watch out for his transformation in the last two episodes.

Much of the credit for making the series watchable goes to the technical team – art directors Abhishek Raghav, Tirumala and Nagendra; sound designer Gautam Nair; music composer Arrol Corelli, editor Raviteja Girijala and cinematographer Vijay K Chakravarthi.

Appreciatively, the story uses the online tutorial space to comment on content creators looking to exploit a situation and the large population that inevitably watches whether they agree with the content or not.

The series leaves some questions unanswered, with plenty of room for the story to continue in season two. Not all of Anya’s Tutorial is compelling or absorbing, but as it progresses it emerges as one of the best series in the digital Telugu-Tamil space.

(Anya’s tutorial is streamed in Telugu and Tamil on Aha)

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