Rajinikanth’s screen presence is the only highlight in this over-the-top emotional drama
The emotion in Annaatthe is extremely familiar to Tamil cinema. The affection towards a sister – or thangachi sentiment, as it’s known in Kollywood – has long attracted the attention of our heroes, from Sivaji Ganesan to Sivakarthikeyan.
And now, Rajinikanth, post a series of experiments like 2.0 and serious subjects such as Kaala, settles down with this familiar sentiment in a milieu that he has not explored in recent times: the quintessential Tamil village.
Kaalaiyan (Rajinikanth) is introduced as a village president of sorts, but his focus and attention is towards his sister, Thangameenakshi (Keerthy Suresh). When she arrives in a train, he ensures that every passenger who travels with her is treated to goodies. When they start looking out for a match for her, he wants the man to be within calling distance. When she thinks of him, he appears. He’s that fond of her.
But destiny has other things for this doting brother-sister duo, and they must separate due to certain circumstances. Will they reunite?
- Cast: Rajinikanth, Nayanthara, Keerthy Suresh, Soori, Meena, Khushbu
- Director: Siva
- Storyline: A doting brother has to go to great lengths to protect his sister
Director Siva, whose last outing was Ajith-starrer Viswasam that showcased a father-daughter bond, tries to milk the brother-sister camaraderie here. The problem? He goes overboard. Every sequence in the film featuring the two is a different variant of saying, “I am really fond of you. I will go to any extent to ensure you are happy.”
This would have been passable had the chemistry between the two had depth. In Annaatthe, Rajinikanth and Keerthy Suresh try very hard to bring that out, but with little success. Rajini tries to compensate for the lack of solid sequences with his style and screen presence, which is intact to an extent, but Annaatthe is hard to salvage. For a film that practically revolves around the sister, it’s a pity that Keerthy Suresh doesn’t get even a single well-written sequence.
The first half is memorable solely because of Rajinikanth’s return to locations we have missed since the nineties – regulars to his films might get reminded of the way they felt during the times of Muthu and Arunachalam. However, even that emotion is very fleeting, as the number of loud characters that somehow seem to force their way into the frame (Khushbu, Meena and a host of other popular faces) conjure up listless, flat sequences. Nayanthara’s presence livens up things a little, but her role – a lawyer who actually becomes a glorified translator – leaves much to be desired. Once the setting moves to Kolkata, action comes into play, but there too, villains come and go while Kaalaiyan soldiers on.
Composer D Imman’s music is perfunctory. In a setting that he’s extremely comfortable with, Imman delivers what is expected of him; ‘Saara Kaatre’ stands out while the BGM tries to amplify the emotion that is missing on the big screen. Cinematographer Vetri’s frames suit the needs of the film, but the lack of ‘theatre moments’ and the script’s poor writing in this big-budget star vehicle is a massive disappointment.
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