Under the sun

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Anniyan - Indian Reloaded

Anniyan shows a packed JN stadium a "film-division" kind of flick through a projector on a giant screen. He cites a few examples of small East-Asian countries like Singapore, Japan, Korea, Malaysia succeeded economically inspite of their small size and against unsurmountable odds. He asks in righteous indignation why this is not the case with our India?
I wish to show a similar flick to director Shankar about quality movies from other parts of the world and even from our country. I will ask him "See the kind of movies they are making? Don't we have the talent, creativity and ability to make such movies? Why is the quality of Tamil movies so bad that the medioccre is accepted as good and the average is rated as great? Inspite of being a talented and successful director who gives a lot of attention to detail, why do you insist on rehashing the same themes again and again ad nauseum? Why waste a good performance from Vikram and the sacrifice he has made for more than a year on such a stale script?"

Well, that's Anniyan for you - Indian rehashed, albeit unsuccessfully. I don't know if the movie will be a hit or not but i can say that almost every scene brings a sense of deja vu to the viewer. Vikram's performance abd screen presence maybe the saving grace for the film, apart from the picturization of songs one usually expects from a Shankar film.
I missed the opening few minutes of the movie as a few of my friends arrived a bit late to the theatre. After the movie all of us wondered why we shouldn't have come three hours late to the movie!
Shankar is a victim of his own obsession with technical ostentation. Showing a spilt personality in Chandramukhi was convincing, but in Anniyan, it almost looks like a joke and any student or practitioner of psychology will laugh all the way back home on seeing such a concept being reduced to a mockery of "Ambi", "Remo" and "Anniyan".
Shankar's stunts are becoming increasingly painful to watch. However, the fight at the martial arts club comes with a statutory warning: You might spill your guts out laughing at the stunt. I mean i was never a fan of Jet Li or The Matrix this stunt sequence is a rape of both put together. Not to mention Vikram fly Gilli-style in the first fight.
Why don't we ban graphics in Indian cinema instead of banning smoking?
There are a lot of questions raised and left unanswered - the transitions from each personality lacks credibility, the love scenes between "Remo" and "Nandy" are unconvincing to name a couple. In fact, Vikram could have done without his put-on accent as the mod-Remo.
Perhaps the most glaring mistake in the movie is this: It is inexplicable that Sadha cannot make out that "Ambi" and "Remo" are the same. Reminds me of the MGR-days when the only disguising would be either a "dhrishti" pottu or sun glasses.

To say something positive about the movie, well obviously Vikram. Vivek's comedy passes muster.
One thing interesting thing i observed (or was it my imagination) is in the showdown with Prakash Raj, "Ambi" has a slight paunch while "Anniyan" has a tight ab.

All in all, it would be a travesty if this movie were to be a hit. Well, such is the nature of things in Tamil Nadu at present. You never know.

8 Comments:

  • This review is proof that you have become a Kamal "Veriyan" from a Kamal "Rasigan". When you become a "Veriyan", you just can't appreciate anyother actor's talent or good performance !

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 21, 04:24:00 AM  

  • I totaly agree with your review and i had the same views about the movie.In fact i wanted to walk out of the movie during halftime . .believe me.I like the way you said "why don't we ban graphics instead of smoking" - Well said!Of course Indian was better and Kamal's performance overtook the direction.Anniyan is a waste of money,time and energy.A R Rahman is big loss to the movie too.Anyway for those of you who liked the movie " Best Wishes " !

    By Blogger Shan, at Tue Jun 21, 09:08:00 AM  

  • I am with ya on this!

    By Blogger Jegathpriyan, at Wed Jun 22, 09:05:00 AM  

  • Mr.Anonymous,
    Please read my post again carefully and you will find that i have not failed to appreciate Vikram's performance, though it was not his best.

    By Blogger Bala (Karthik), at Wed Jun 22, 12:17:00 PM  

  • Anniyan doesn't live upto my expectations

    Gee, Those 3 hours! I am still in awe with Shankar's Indian and Gentleman and they are my baselines for judging Anniyan.

    The good part of the movie is most of the actors fill in admirably. Vikram is convincing as Triplicane Iyengar, his second and third splits(Anniyan and Remo) are not bad either. Vivek chose not to start his shouting match, which he has often done with not so popular heroes. Prakash Raj underplays his character, which I thought was one of the highlights of the movie. In my opinion, he overdid I love you daa in Gilli. Sada is 'Saada', a typical Shankar heroine. Remember, Madhubala in Gentleman or Manisha Koirala in Indian or Mudhalvan , the roles fits in with the hero and not entirely with the mainstream story.

    Harris Jayaraj's music has grown on me steadily, which is unusual. Almost all of Shankar's music (except Boys) stuck on me the first time I heard. Ravivarman's cinematography is consistent with Shankar's earlier movies.

    The success or failure of Anniyan rests solely on Shankar. Here is a guy who routinely spends time and effort on his story with Sujatha and Balakumaran (some of my favorite writers). I bet Shankar had a big hangover (just like me) with his Indian and Gentleman and the result is very obvious. Shankar goes for style over substance as he has increasingly shown in Boys.

    Comparisons with Chandramukhi are inevitable because of the main theme - Split personality. As the author pointed out, Chandramukhi has succeeded in portraying it better than Anniyan. Having watched Manichitra Thazh before Chandramukhi, I find Chandramukhi as a Rajini movie as the original was amazingly better defined and directed. Therefore, I would credit Shankar for originality even though it didnt meet my expectations.

    By Anonymous Thoduvaanam, at Mon Jun 27, 07:28:00 PM  

  • Is it the Indian way to always pick on the negatives and not talk about the positive aspects of a movie?

    1)Rehashed themes
    Its weird in a country we have seen the same gimmicks and acting styles of one superstar for more than 30 years and yet we are not tired of it and want more..but we complain about a movie that has themes that are actually thought provoking.
    I admire Shankar for being able to deliver the same messages and themes in 4 different screenplays successfully each time.

    2)How do you figure Chandramukhi's depiction of spilt personality was better than Anniyan's?
    That boggles me to no extent.
    There is still alot of conflicting theories as to whether Chandramukhi was actually a spirit or a split personality in the movie.I think Shankar touched all reasoning behind his MPD theory in Anniyan which P.Vasu failed in CM.

    3)Matrix clone fight
    Well,as a fan of the Matrix and Hong Kong action scenes which are a craze in Hollywood action movies these days,I was very pleased to see it being incorporated into Indian cinema.
    The quality might not be as good as the Matrix but considering the budget and technology spent in Hollywood for those graphics and budget and technology Shankar had in order to execute such scenes,I think he has done a fabulous job.
    Was a refreshing change to the typical fight scenes we have seen in Tamil movies recently.

    3)Its pretty amusing how you want to make sense out of something as trivial as whether Sada associates Ambi to Remo.Why would she? According to the movie, she basically grew up seeing Ambi as Ambi only..not to mention represent everything she didn't want in a man.Maybe being a woman myself,I think I can relate to the fact that women do get carried away by "popular bad boy" syndrome.
    Nevertheless,I believe whether she did at one point wonder that Ambi resembled Remo but disregarded it due to their vastly differnt characteristics is kind of irrelevant to the flow of the story.
    4) Well..I'm glad that you actually did at least enknowledge one positive aspect of the movie.
    Vikram's performance.
    From a recent Vikram interview, Vikram did give credit to Shankar for giving him the freedom and time to change his physique as required for the roles.
    What is portrayed on screen is what the director okays at the end of the shot of the scene.So every actor's performance we see is the result of the director's vision.So Shankar deserves some credit for Vikram's performance.

    Overall, I think 'Anniyan' is a winner.Worth watching a 2nd time at least :D

    By Anonymous Olshaski, at Fri Jul 22, 01:12:00 AM  

  • the kind of crap films we tend to see these days, anniyan is a welcome change. The only thing shanker missed was the support of a.r.rahman.The bgm was a let down angd only 1 song (Kumari) pass muster. Vivek was back to form in my opinion, the way he reads the letter to sada is really funny. The stunts are inspired fom matrix but given the resourses the team has done a good job.

    With films like ghilli,tirupachi,manmadan,sachin, coming and hitting you anniyan is oxygen.

    By Blogger ramji, at Fri Jul 29, 03:44:00 PM  

  • Olshaski,
    [quote]Its weird in a country we have seen the same gimmicks and acting styles of one superstar for more than 30 years and yet we are not tired of it and want more[/quote]
    I'm with you on this, the only diff is that neither can i bear superstar's gimmicks nor Anniyan's excesses....

    And about Sada's "inability" to see that Ambi and Remo are the same, suffice to say that i don't find it trivial....

    Ramji,
    Totally agree with you about Thirupachi, Sachein etc.. but IMO Anniyan isn't far better.....

    By Blogger Bala (Karthik), at Mon Aug 08, 04:29:00 PM  

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