(Pictures adopted from Hindu, Chennai Online and Yahoo!)
My rating: A- for Vikram, Shankar and Sujatha.
Anniyan is another fantasy product from Shankar’s dream factory. It is similar to Indian in terms of a sad flashback featuring an unnatural death, the resolution of the protagonist to change the system by punishing the offenders, thereby issuing a warning to all the defaulters, a police officer in hunt for the law-breaker and, in the end, though being caught, he still remains ‘free’. But, the similarity ends there. Shankar has brought in a new dimension of ‘multiple personality disorder’ (which, with Jo in Chandramukhi, seems to be a hot thing in tamil cinemas.. many more are sure to get MPD..) and Vikram has done a tremendous job in this new challenge.
After showing his anger on our educational system and on corrupt ministers (Gentleman), corrupt government officers (Indian) and selfish, narrow-minded politicians (Mudhalvan), Shankar is now pointing fingers at every one of us, Indians. We cant agree more, we nod our head in approval. So, Anniyan punishes such people whose crimes either don’t have a punishment in our laws or lukewarm punishment. Those include a person who refuses to help an accident victim, a money-hungry landlord, a lazy jobless drunkard, a food supplier who doesn’t care about the quality and a hardware businessman manufacturing low quality products. Each of them is punished according to what they would have got in the ‘hell’ after their death, according to ‘Garuda Puranam’.
Anniyan is an identity within Ramanujam aka Ambi, a lawyer who is a perfect man in the imperfect world. He loves Nandini (Sadha) but is too shy to propose to her. When he does, after much pressure from his childhood friend Chari (Vivek), Sadha promptly rejects his love, saying that he is too much of an algorithm for any girl to fall in love with. With the dejection, is born another identity, Remo, a rampwalk model. He impresses Nandini with his cool yo-yo looks and poetic words, to fall in love with him. In a moment, she sees all the three identities; in fact, the sweet-talking Remo turns into a deadly Anniyan hunting to kill her. A psychiatrist (Nasser) hypnotizes Ambi and then comes the sad childhood flashback, a reason for the birth of Anniyan and Remo.
The script is terrific, though filled with quite a lot of holes. But, forget the logic, and you get three hours of mind-blowing experience. Vikram gives a complete performance, especially as Ambi and Anniyan. His body language, speech, expressions and mannerisms are totally different for the three personalities and he has made it all look so simple. Another national-award winning performance from him. It is a very intelligent use of the long hair for all the three. Stand-out stuff was the pre-climax fight with Prakash Raj.
Sadha looks good as a Iyengar girl. Her dialogue delivery and acting have improved since Jayam. Vivek is back to his best with his typical on-the-spot comedy. There is a mention of Tsunami here too, which could have been avoided. His scenes never go out of context of the main story of the movie. Prakash Raj looks refreshingly different from his previous negative roles and Shankar has managed to still bring the best out of him. His usage of the Garuda Purana punishments during interrogation has brought out his well-thought out quest for vengeance. The support cast of Nedumudi Venu and others at the Agraharam bring out some lively, less-cinematic performances.
Sujatha has penned the dialogue, as one can see, quite enjoyingly, since the Iyengar dialect is from his own routine life. Harris Jayaraj’s background music is more impressive than most of the songs. It helps the audience go through the various paths the different identities take. Kumari is my favorite, beautifully shot during the flower season of Amsterdam. Choreography is OK. Stunt-coordination is worth applauding, though inspired from Matrix. The blend of time-freeze and DTS makes the fight scene at the martial arts center a sure ‘once-more’ item. Cinematography by Manikandan and Ravi Varman is pleasing, be it in India or Netherlands, day or night, indoor or outdoor, songs or action.
In the end, kudos to Shankar. Surely, the message is well-conveyed. The screenplay is characteristically smooth. It could be seen that lot of thought-process has gone into each and every scene. The use of a less known ‘Garuda Puranam’ and the colloquially used “you/he/she will go to hell” curse is real clever thinking. Though the issues dealt are quite different than the ones I thought, they have been handled well. The climax scene is well-thought one. Here we see a ‘refined’ and smarter Ambi-Anniyan. It seems as though the two years of idleness has brought both the identities together with a split personality becoming one, half of both. If you dig deep, there are pieces of brilliance and nice paradoxes all over the place. In the first scene, Ambi says "I hate disorder" but what a disorder he has got!!
On the down side, Shankar has missed a few points: One – how famous Anniyan has become to the public is not shown. So, when the stadium gets full with the public and media personnel after his announcement, it is hard to believe that so many had already known about him. Two – unlike in Gentleman and Indian, the police officer doesn’t get much closer to his target as the movie progresses. No mention about the worry for the reason behind the serial murders. The net-tracker says the complaints on all the 5 defaulters were launched from the same phone line, but we see that Ambi uses a cyber café in a railway station to lodge one complaint.
Anyway, the movie has become a huge hit all over the world. The most important question is, whether the viewers would consider this as just another movie, or take the message home. If they do, the claps in the movie halls make sense.. if they don’t……
Jul 1, 2005
Anniyan - Review
(Pictures adopted from Hindu, Chennai Online and Yahoo!)