Anniyan – Aala Vudu !!

Anniyan

tribute
noun
1. An expression of admiration or congratulation: commendation, compliment, congratulation (often used in plural), praise. See praise/blame.
2. A formal token of appreciation and admiration for a person’s high achievements: salute, salvo, testimonial.

screw up
verb
To harm irreparably through inept handling; make a mess: ball up, blunder, boggle, botch, bungle, foul up, fumble, gum up, mess up, mishandle, mismanage, muddle, muff, spoil. Informal bollix up, muck up. Slang blow1, goof up, louse up, snafu. Idioms: make a muck of.

Sometimes tributes end up as screw-ups. Though being inspired and inspired again by his movies, Shankar fails poorly to display his tact in handling social subjects with proficient ease. Anniyan ends up being a bad exercise in execution and is undoubtedly a defective tribute to his own classics. I was sold even during the first 15 minutes of the movie. After that, just like a bad one day cricket match, the movie treads into an unrealistic path with a face mask of realism, only to bore you and me to the core.

Coming from the S A Chandrasekhar factory, Shankar has always stuck chord with problems dodging the society and has delivered escapist fantasy flicks with earnestness in story-telling. Boys was his first full-length realistic movie with little exaggerations sprinkled throughout. With the entire Tamil Nadu taking a holy dip to remain virgins by making Boys a super-dooper flop, this is what they did to a human called Shankar, whose directing career graph, until then, knew no south-pole bends. I can perfectly sympathize Shankar for being hurt with the hungama made with Boys at the box-office. At the same time, one would also expect a mature director to rebound from the fall, make a movie that would be applauded by the same crowd which made his previous gem a failure. Instead, Shankar goes on a remix mode and loses the artistic credibility, what kollywood had on him.

Anniyan had a much better message storyline than Indian or Muthalvan. It calls for a root cause analysis of social issues and not harvesting weeds in the bureaucracy. This probably should have been the first of Shankar’s movies as it shouts for a bigger attention than the reformation to education department, like in Gentleman. While I strongly believe in the philosophy of watching a movie as presented instead of suggesting changes to someone who conceived it, Anniyan made me cross the rule. If made appropriate changes to the basic story-line, Anniyan would become a classic. It ends a sore interlude in a beautiful symphony. If only…If only the MPD wasn’t used and misused, Anniyan would emerge as a winner of sorts.

There are logically unanswered questions, poor characterization, terribly bad screenplay and of course some hyped acting in abundance, throughout the movie. While the protagonist, Ambi has a truly admirable character his alter egos are preferred to be forgotten as nightmares. Contrary to popular belief, in my opinion, Ambi aka ‘Rules’ Ramanujam isn’t a loser. He is one of the stalwarts of this society. As we see hundreds of social blunders happening within our vicinity, most of us escape from the scenario. Ambi at least has this innocent confidence to fight out the blunders right at that spot. Though being dishonored by others, Ambi is a true citizen of this society. If we were take a poll, as to how many of us would engage in questioning a dada molesting a girl in the pallavan bus, Ambi would win hands-down. Ambi is an Anniyan in this country for that matter. With a country full of escapists and hypocrites of various degrees, who can just make passing comments on social issues while traveling bus or writing about what should happen to the politics in blogs, like us, Ambis are rare breed of brave heroes. Aayitha Ezhuthu‘s Michael Vasant and Anniyan Ambi have similar milestones, only that they choose different ways to reach there.

Vikram was a huge let-down. While his body language was nearly perfect to the ‘timid’ Ambi character, his intonation as Remo and Anniyan were unbearable. Vikram portrays Anniyan’s killing-of-the-bad with only a revengeful attitude and not with a fierceness of achieving a goal. By just rolling the eyes and blowing air like Arjun, I don’t think the characterization of Anniyan was complete. I only wished Vikram to have understood the subtle fierceness, Kamalhassan displayed as Indian Thatha. Even the thatha had fire in him to cleanse the society and it was brought out in a manner, with a devastatingly underplayed role. While I’m not comparing Kamal Hassan to Vikram, Vikram might need good directors to help him with true-to-life characters.

Prakashraj’s character not only ends up a bad joke but also helps in bringing down the interest in the movie. While Vivek provides some good escape from the boredom, Sada disappoints as the heroine. Acknowledged artists like Nasser, Prakash Raj, Nedumudi Venu, Cochin Haniffa, Kalabavan Mani are wasted with tiny unimportant characters. The Thiruvayaaru festival ends up as a hyped up marketing effort.

It’s a little annoying to sit through a movie with bad continuation and screenplay. The minute you have Anniyan executing Garuda Puranam type punishments, you know you are heading in the wrong direction. Garuda Puranam has a good mythology behind it. And I think it wasn’t presented well on screen. The loosely hanging strands of hair in-front of the camera, made me hate the man called Anniyan. It’s so amateurish to have shots like that. I only doubt if Shankar and Sujatha ever saw the movie before it released to public. While I believe they have a good eye for detail, how could they ever compromise on such bad shots and characterization of Anniyan? Yet again, childish graphics end up as villains for Shankar movies. With so much talked about technology involved in making movies, I can’t believe shots of Anniyan website having such poor quality graphics which any local graphic artistic can make.

Harris Jayaraj disappoints even more than Shankar and Vikram. And one is forced to think the impact of having Rahman for a movie like this. The BGMs are nearly missing while songs are a mediocre effort by Harris who has some good numbers before. I loved the Kaadhal Yaanai song but bad picturisation made me avoid it. Even the similar Muthalvan’s Shakalaka Baby had some nice picturisation. I’m unable to distinguish between Mani Kandan and Ravi Varman’s splendid cinematography. It’s lovely to have two good cameramen for the same movie. Camera ramping has become a sort of Shankar trademark and I just love the way he uses it at right place of the movie to speed it up without having to edit them.

Sujatha’s dialogues not only help in setting up the movie, it helps to ground the movie and make it relatable to the audience. It’s a potent combination to have such realistic dialogues with a fantasy story. Only that Anniyan had overdone the fantasy part. But I wasn’t for comparing Singapore to India. It wasn’t comparing apples and apples.

Anniyan isn’t certainly a movie; Shankar could be proud making it. I would only expect a sensible director like Shankar to bounce back and raise his own bar, instead of getting crippled to the joint discouraging effort of the media and public for his Boys. He probably should be making small budget flicks of his own taste instead of such big budget movies like this, to escape out of the image he has created amidst the public. Not only would we get a classy director Shankar who can make movie watching a thorough experience, it would also allow him to pursue his endeavors. Whatsoever, Anniyan would remain as a biggest blooper of recent times.