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Anniyan - Movie Review

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Shankar is a 'grandeur director'. While that's not a bad attribute per se, too much of grandeur and visual experiments can be a distraction to the viewer. Somebody has to tell him that, or he should see his home banner production 'Kaadhal' again and realize how important it is for the audience to identify with the characters. While all of his serious movies are narrated in an unusually entertaining fashion and are pregnant with dialogues, he doesn't seem to move out of the themes he deals with. He returns to first love in 'Anniyan'. While you see some of the characters in 'Anniyan' on a daily basis, the one that matters is out of the world.

It's quite impossible to discuss the storyline without touching the underlying premise about the main character - multiple personality disorder. Ramanujam, the basic personality (if I may use that word), a lawyer and a citizen by the rule-book, is angry at the society for it's callous attitude and lack of humanitarian awareness. Anniyan, is the personification of Ramanujam's boiling anger and he takes his whip to punish the wrong-doers. Remo, is the third personality who is invented to fill in the all necessary love element, which is abysmally absent in Ramanujam. That's that.

Shankar seems to have played it by the formula after 'Boys' receiving a mixed box-office response. The opening scenes in which Ramanujam is appalled at the society's apathy is not believable. It's as if his first day on planet Earth. One of the final scenes where Anniyan and Ramanujam alternate every few seconds in an encounter with Prakash Raj is enjoyable though it lets the logic out of the window. Talking of logic, there are loads of questions - (I know that logic is not permitted into mainstream Tamil cinema and I have no right to question, but) if big name guys like Shankar don't set the standard, it will make it difficult for directors following his footsteps to mature.

Vikram plays the lead characters and he should be credited for a credible job. Sadha, the beautiful doll she is, comes and sings and goes away. Vivek offers some comedy relief. Prakash Raj as the police officer incharge of all the murders is exaggerated. The photography (Manikandan & Ravi Verman) aptly captures the grendeur and doesn't offer any depth to the story. Of the songs, Kumari and Kannum still linger, though Harris Jayaraj's rerecording leaves much to be desired. Sabu Cyril's work as an art director is to be commended. Sujatha's dialogue sounds like a rehash from 'Gentleman' and 'Indian'. Shankar has paced the second half very well inspite of his screenplay's hollowness.

If the movie is a child, it has so many parents: a) Vikram's characterization (brahminical upbringing + revolutionary underlayer) is borrowed from 'Gentleman's Arjun. b) The main theme is not different from his own 'Indian'. c) The modes of murders depending on their misdeeds resembles 'Seven'. d) The anagram clues about murders remind me of 'The Silence of the lambs'. e) Multiple personality portrayal has faint allusions to 'Fight Club'. f) The stunt scenes bear conceptaual resemblance to 'Matrix Reloaded' and 'Minority Report'. When a child has so many parents.... let me simply say that something is seriously amiss in Shankar's originality department.

'Anniyan' passes on the entertainment value. I wonder if the movie will strike a 'honesty' chord inside anyone since it's way over the top in getting across it's message. 'Anniyan' lacks the all important believability when it comes to message stories that urge social transformation. Shankar will settle for nothing but an utopia for India and I don't know how many stories he has in store to stress that. 'Anniyan' is not a bad movie, but it's faraway from being good.

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