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The anniyan Movie Review

Entertainer Par Excellence
Rating: 0.5/5

Vibrant visuals, stunt scenes that rival those in Hollywood movies, technical wizardry, mellifluous music, fast-paced narration, and top order acting. Welcome to the wonder world of the much-trumpeted Anniyan.

Director Shankar believes in 'baking it big'! All his previous movies -- seven in all -- have been big budget extravaganzas. The Rs 27-crore Anniyan, the costliest flick to be made in South, is the mother of them all. Few films have had the kind of hype and hoopla that attended the countdown to Anniyan release. So much so that tickets for the first week had been sold out much before its actual release!

Well, the three-hour-long escapist fantasy has lived upto the pre-release buildup. True, Anniyan does not commend itself for thematic novelty. In a way, Shankar treads familiar ground. There are shades of his earlier movies like 'Indian' in it. The protagonist of Anniyan who bristles at injustice reminds you of the Kamal Haasan character in 'Indian'. And, of course, the multiple personality disorder theme has been a staple of southern cinema. The latest example of the split personality syndrome is the Rajnikant-starrer, Chandramukhi.

But Anniyan is a different experience primarily for one reason: The standout performance of hero Vikram. The effortless ease with which he essays the three different characters is to be seen to be believed. The role could have collapsed in the hands of an actor of lesser calibre. But National award winner Vikram justifies the full faith Shankar has reposed in him. It's a once-in-a-lifetime-show. Perhaps only that great thespian Sivaji Ganesan or Kamal Haasan at his best could have done an equally good job. And that is the ultimate tribute to the acting skills of Vikram.

Here is the Anniyan story. Ramanujam alias Ambi is a lawyer by profession. Ambi is a simple man who is a stickler for law. He hates disorder and reacts against injustice. But no matter how hard he tries, he is in no position to bring justice to the victims. Among them is an accident victim. He is aghast when Kochin Haneefa refuses to help him. Then Ambi is angry at the substandard food served by the railway contractor. But 'Rules Ramanujam' is unable to do anything about it.

Life takes a new turn for Ambi, who visits a website. There he stumbles on a 'pearl of wisdom' -- sinners should not go unpunished -- that transforms his life beyond mention. Ambi now imagines himself to be the chosen one to punish the wicked. Well, the multiple personality disorder has taken possession of him. One is reminded of the English film, 'The Mask' in which a mild guy played by Jim Carrey becomes a totally different person when he wears a mask.

So, our humble Ambi becomes aggressive Anniyan, a one-man army who wreaks vengeance on the baddies and perpetrators of injustice. The railway contractor whom Ambi could not 'touch' gets killed by Anniyan! Many other 'villains' get punished by the Anniyan avatar!

Even Ambi's love life undergoes a remarkable transformation. Nandini, who does not care a damn for the amiable Ambi, falls headlong in love with him when he turns the romantically robust Remo!

Meanwhile, the increasing incidents of murder in the city attract the attention of the law-enforcing authorities. Supercop Prabhakar (Prakash Raj) who is deputed to probe the murder cases runs into Ambi. The tough cop is shocked at the ease with which the mild-mannered Ambi, who cowers before him one minute, becomes an aggressive Anniyan the very next minute! So much so that the police officer admits that though he has seen films featuring great actors like Sivaji Ganesan, MGR, Kamal Haasan, he has not come across a better actor than Ambi!

At the end of the day, the supercop cracks the case and Ambi is found to be the one who is behind the host of murders. He is then taken to court. When he is confronted with video evidence of the murders he has committed, Ambi is appalled to know that he is the perpetrator of all these 'crimes'. The law-abiding citizen in Ambi asserts himself, and requests the court to punish him. But there is no provision in law that can punish a victim of multiple personality disorder. So, the court sends Ambi to a mental asylum for treatment.

Is Ambi is cured of his mental illness? What happens to Anniyan and Remo? Go and watch the absorbing Anniyan.

Music is a major ingredient in the success of Anniyan. Instead of AR Rahman, who normally composes music for Shankar movies, it is a newcomer Harris Jeyraj who has set the lyrics of Vairamuthu to tunes. And make no mistake about it, Harris has a bright future ahead of him. The song “Kumari, Kumari”, picturised in the tulip fields of Amsterdam, Holland, is a hit. Another offbeat song is sung by Malayalam playback singer Jassy Gift, Andankakka and picturised on a village in Tamil Nadu.

It is not as if Anniyan is an unmixed blessing. There are questions that Shankar has left unanswered. There are scenes that strain credulity and defy logic. But then, this is all part of the game. So, just suspend your critical faculties and enjoy the entertainer par excellence. You will be richer by the experience.

The grapevine has it that Shankar put off the release of the film from June 10 to June 17, because he considers 8 to be his lucky number!

Well, there is no doubt about it. Producer Oscar Ravichandran and Director Shankar are all smiles as Anniyan is keeping the cash registers ringing.

It is great fun watching Anniyan!

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