Anniyan- Et tu Shankar?.

1 07 2005

Anniyan is the story of sickeningly sweet, Mr. too-nice-to-be-true guy, Ramanujam who transforms into the blood curling bass voiced avenger, Anniyan, and finds time to be a cloying, annoying, supposed-to-be-romantic-but-plain-silly-playboy, Remo inbetween.

The director, Shankar, seems to have got his facts mixed up. Someone seems to have told him getting affected with multiple person disorder is the equivalent of landing on a small rocket from the distant planet of Krypton. Before the movie released, there was a sms doing the rounds that Anniyan is the story of a scientist who finds Vikram lying in a ditch and implants a microchip in his brain which gives him magical powers. “Hyuk, hyuk, yeah right “, we went when we read it, “not Shankar “….Sadly, post-movie, the second story sounds much more appealing and hugely more believable…

The movie starts off with the sickening-sweet Ramanujam doing goody-goody deeds and lamenting the lokam that doesn’t help him. “Aha”, u goes, “so that’s the story. So this is a tale of him taking a straw too much on his back, and taking out the bad guys, a la Indian”. Well, almost right. Then, the crying (‘bawling’, actually), comes across a flyer promoting “anniyan.com” where u supposedly have to give the details of the villains and the anniyan will take `em out. Well, our hero logs on, finds a totally incredible website complete with CGing and 3 dimensional graphics, oasting of a darn good Artificial intelligence engine too. Macromedia, go hide in shame !

Well, our Ramanujam reports, the snarling Anniyan takes out the bad guys in a variety of different ways, and pretty gruesome ways too, I might add. Prakash raj, in 1 of his more meaningless appearances, does his best to add color to the 2 dimensional police man investigating the crime .Vivek plays his crony and vikrams buddy..

Though, every1 and his aunt is an expert on MPD these days (courtesy ‘Tell me ur dreams ‘ for the erudite few and Cmukhi for the rest), “hold on “, u think, “this is Shankar, maybe we’re being subtly deceived and the real story line is bound to be something original and unexpected”. Nope, just wishful thinking. The director thoughtful relieves us of that misconception, even before the interval, showing Ramanujam rise up as anniyan, leaving no option to explain it other than MPD. So much for the suspense..

The third gruesome murder comes and goes, and then comes the much awaited portion of the movie. The interval..

Post interval, we’re introduced to the supposed-to-be-romantic-but-plain-silly-playboy , Remo ( guess that’s supposed to be a ahem, clever take on ‘Romeo’) . To Shankars credit, he has imbued all the Vikram characters with at least one common trait. Total unbelievability ! ..This Remo guy takes away the roof tiles from a house and manages to place them back in 4 seconds flat, makes roses droop by telepathy, makes the very stars move away and hide! Beat that Superman!

Now we get to the turning point of the plot. The heroine, Nandhini, commits a faux pas by suggesting she register her land for less than the market value, and Ramanujam expresses his profound regret. And of course, she becomes the latest target for Anniyan. The viewer may be forgiven for being reminded of shades of Indian, where oldie kamal takes a knife to young wastrel kamal. But from the same director who imbued that scene with such credibility that we were in a quandary about which kamal to support, sadly misses the mark by a country mile this time. After Anniyan chases her down the road (in broad daylight no less) she enters a karate (or whatever) school, and this is where the fun begins .The viewers credibility which had been stretched as humanely possible till this point, now reaches its apex..

Enter: the hero, dark locks astray.

Heroine: covering in fear behind a monkish dude.

Background: About a 100 people trying out their martial art moves

And wonder of wonders, our hero single handedly rips through them!! (Captain, are u watching?), in a totally shameless rip-off of the matrix scene where Keanu fights off the army of clones. In fact, rip-off is an understatement, for everything right from the camera angles to the scene where he’s buried under a 100 people and gets up throwing them all off, has been a carbon copy of the original. But while we watched the original version spellbound, this one has neither the originality behind it nor the credibility lent by the knowledge that this happens in a virtual reality land, to inspire anything like the same reactions. Shame on u Shankar!

Anyway, back to the action. He busts up the martial arts people, and captures Nandhini.

He lights a fire and is just about to throw Nandhini in. He carries her with effortless ease, brutal eyes fixed firmly on the fire in front, she a huddling, whining ,pleading bundle, covering her face, and then…..

Would have been interesting if he did throw her in, vikram would then have had enough scope to show his acting prowess to win a national award (mind u, he still might), but sadly, once again the predictable occurs. He has a sudden change of mind (literally 😉 ), becomes ramanujam, and wonders what he’s doing with her in his hands. Normally that would be enough to make u roll your eyes, but this far into the movie, you are just glad he didn’t say “I love u”…

In more mindlessness, the heroine, now aware that she has a serial killer with her takes him to a hospital instead of a police station for some unfathomable reason. Nasser, the consummate actor and vikram then walk through the scene replicated from “Tell me your dreams” with ease. Childs play. Turns out, the multiple personality was because vikram`s sister died in a roadside accident due to some negligence on the part of the authorities, when he was 10.Begs the question, has he been murdering people ever since?? Nasser then asks “did u commit the murders?”… The intelligence of the question almost deserves the famous “athu naan than..aana naa ella” line thrown back at him, and brickbats don’t get any harder than that comparison.

Nasser tops nandhini in mindless acts and releases the murderer to the public, helpfully adding that he is nor curable. The hero then promptly organizes a public press conference in the jawarhal lal Nehru stadium, no less. Beat that for nerve. The police get a formal invitation too, duly attend and wait with bated breath patiently sitting through our hero’s lengthy monologue. Lest the murderer loses his victims attention, he thoughtfully provides a video clipping of one of his vendetta acts where he murders a guy for the heinous crime of sleeping on a park bench instead of working. He better not come near a “principles of communication” class! The public, all press in full attendance, compound it by cheering him on. Give as a break Mr.Shankar, we aren’t that dumb (readers who applauded that scene kindly exempted”)

The show gets over, prakash raj duly gives the obligatory “surround all exits” command ,rushes forward and gets with arms reach of the hero, and wonder of wonders , Anniyans no longer there !! and the director doesn’t even deign to tell us how he managed that particular piece of impossibility.

The rest of the movie is about how prakash raj arrests him, tortures him, he faces trial and how Ramanujam is cured. That forms the only interesting part of the movie so I’ll do people who haven’t watched it a favor and desist from mentioning it here.

The movie does have its strong points though. Vikram does a commendable job of acting. The background score is awesome and the songs rock. Satha doesn’t have much to do but looks good doing it. And the last half hour of the movie almost makes up for the rest of it. In fact, like having a good sweet after a bland lunch, the climax does make u almost forget the rest of the movie and leave a good taste in your mouth. But somehow you expect more from Shankar.

So that, is Anniyan in a nut shell. Well, maybe a bit more than a nutshellJ. Shankar, who got scalded with his earlier release ‘Boyz’ seems to have got a bit cynical. He seems to have stopped trying to be original, and made a masala mix-max of all that the public loves and thrown it at the public`s face with a derisive smirk , without even bothering to smoothen the edges or cover the cracks. The saddest part is that Anniyan does rock the box office, putting one up for commercialism over originality…

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