Warning: Some spoilers of the movie 'Anniyan' and the TV serial 'Marma Desam: VidAthu karuppu' will be found.
During the time when Anniyan was released, I was very thrilled with the concept and the fact that it was a vigilante movie by Shankar further fuelled my interest on the movie, which culminated in a string of posts in May-June 2005. After watching the movie too, I was very impressed by it. Logistics and the irritating 'Remo' apart, it was quite a nice portrayal of multiple-personality disorder (MPD) or split personality. Add to that some fine acting by Vikram, it was a movie I never got bored of watching any number of times.
Then I happened to watch 'VidAthu karuppu' on a website recently. It was totally awesome. It was such a different tele-serial that I felt like I was watching a very long and superb movie. This is easily the best tele-serial I have ever watched. So many visitors of the website were anxiously waiting for the posting of each episode. The suspense was too much to take. It has nearly ended, and, towards the end came the shocking revelation of the split personality of a main character which was the 'Karuppu'. It was then that the 'Anniyan' connection became clear.
A few bloggers have compared Anniyan with Vidathu Karuppu, but none of the famous movie reviewers nor the professional reviewers pointed the 'inspiration' for Shankar. Let me point them all:
1) The 'normal' personality is a scary goose.
2) The normal one has witnessed some gory deaths and societal injustice in the childhood, which becomes the seed for the eventual growth of a new personality.
3) An elderly female character in the family talks about punishment by God, of the people who do wrong, which goes into the thinking process leading to the split personality.
4) The girl whom the normal one loves, likes him as a harmless friend, but doesnt love him since she views him to be boring and cowardly.
5) The girl is the one who first becomes aware of the dual/multiple personality of the main character.
6) The persons who are killed by the split personality are those whom the normal guy has seen doing wrong.
7) A confusion/defeat for the split personality is suggested/shown to cause the disappearance of that personality.
8) The imporant parts of the MPD, which is the transition from one personality to the other, the accompanying confusion, and the timing of revelation of the second personality, are not discussed.
9) In the climax, rapid switching between the personalities were acted well by characters in both the serial and TV. So, the famous MGR-Sivaji-Kamal-Rajni scene of Vikram is a heavy inspiration from the serial.
10) Both the second personalities have a voice rougher than and different from the original voice.
From these points, it must be clear how ground-breaking the serial was, which was telecast over 9 years ago. The director, Naga is a film institute student, and is the cinematographer for the serial too. So, he has superbly captured the beauty of the village, and the mystery of the nights with clever camera angles. Each role has been brilliantly played by everyone, with Chetan winning the award with an unforgettable performance. Devadarshini delivers a strong female performance, but her character is shown to be clever, independent and, unlike in movies, unsubmissive. Even the supporting cast is not naive at all. Care has gone into the sculpting of each character and the story line, which proceeds in two parallel timelines - past and present. Not to forget the subtle, but brilliant and natural performance by the little boy, Logesh. Where is he now?
While the tele-serial proceeds with both the supernatural, and hence scientifically unexplainable events and the MPD, Shankar simply chose only MPD. Vidaathu Karuppu has touched upon several fine aspects of love and society which are: Friendship, feminism, caste differences, commanality among religions, village way of life, thieves as a part of social structure, the rich people who indirectly steal from commoners and hence are more dangerous, mythical beliefs, revenge, punishment, confusion arising from clash of beliefs, and control through religion.
The recent news about Shankar producing a big budget movie to be directed by Naga is interesting. Not having credited or even mentioend Naga for the inspiration, it appears to be Shankar's attempt towards salvation to remove his guilt. Having said that, can't wait to watch 'Anthapurathu Veedu'.
Quoting dance master Sridhar, "Indha mAdhiri serial edungappA.. edhavadhu sollanumnu thonudhA?".