‘Axone’ movie review: Witty and culturally-rooted
Like several films and shows releasing in the last three months, which were not intended to see daylight during a pandemic, finds a newfound relevance in an audience immured at home. In the case of Axone, the discrimination faced by people from the Northeast — who have been at the receiving end of misplaced anti-China prejudice, owing to the origins of coronavirus — feels a lot more urgent.
This ‘othering’ of Northeastern citizens, based on their appearance, language, accent, customs and cuisine, has been a longstanding issue, and Axone deals with it with levity and observational humour, while occasionally pulling punches against the discrimination and addressing it directly. The latter could have been didactic, as is the fear with ‘films with a message’, but Axone’s authenticity ensures it doesn’t.
The film is a good example of a demographic of people telling their own stories. The narrative and look of the film have a lived-in quality to them, which can’t be easily feigned. Although taking place within the bubble created by a few Northeastern friends in Delhi, the film is not insular in its telling. It pays appropriate homage to Northeastern cultures, while also bringing out the idiosyncrasies of a typically middle-class Delhi neighbourhood, which is home to an amusing Punjabi grandmother aka mataji (Dolly Ahluwalia).