Director: Siva. Cast: Rajinikanth, Nayanthara, Keerthy Suresh, Kushbu, Meena, Jagapathi Babu, Abhimanyu Singh and Soori.
IANS Rating: **1/2
By Manigandan K.R.
If you have been an ardent fan of director Siva and have watched his previous films like ‘Vedalam’ and ‘Viswasam’, then you pretty much know what to expect in ‘Annaatthe’.
Siva sticks to his time-tested formula of family sentiment that has worked so well for him in the past. If his ‘Viswasam’ was about the love of a dad for his daughter, then ‘Annaatthe’ is about the love of a brother for his sister.
The story is about Kaalaiyan (Rajinikanth), whose world revolves around his younger sister Thanga Meenakshi (Keerthy Suresh). Life is bliss for the brother and sister until one day, Kaalaiyan realises that it is time to get his sister married.
He decides that the bridegroom who weds her must be within a radius of 5 km from his residence so that he can visit her often and take good care of her. She too says that his decision is her decision and agrees to wed a young man of his choice. On the day of the wedding, however, she elopes with her boyfriend. What happens then is what ‘Annaatthe’ is all about.
It doesn’t take an expert to spot the similarities between Siva’s latest offering and his previous films, notably ‘Viswasam’ and ‘Vedalam’.
Sample this: In ‘Viswasam’, the hero (Ajith), who comes from a rural background, falls in love with a well-educated city-bred doctor (played by Nayanthara). In ‘Annaatthe’, Kaalaiyan (Rajinikanth) comes from Soorakottai and falls in love with a well-educated lawyer (played by Nayanthara).
While in ‘Viswasam’, the hero goes to another city, to the aid of his wife and daughter, despite their relationship having turned sour, in ‘Annaatthe’, the protagonist goes to Kolkata to the aid of his dear sister, even though she had disappointed him and eloped with the man of her choice.
The similarities do not end there. In fact, we are only just getting started. The protagonist of ‘Viswasam’ has a sidekick (played by Roboshankar), who blurts out what are meant to be English phrases or words whenever the hero asks for a translation. In ‘Annaatthe’, Soori plays that role, happily reeling out words supposed to be from the English language.
Both protagonists in both plots come from large joint families. Both wield great clout and, needless to say, are altruists.
It is evident that Siva has banked big on the formula that has worked for him time and again. ‘Vedalam’ and ‘Viswasam’, however, were entertaining; ‘Annaatthe’, which has been made pretty much on the same lines, is not.
What seems to have failed to click is the comedy factor. While ‘Vedalam’ and ‘Viswasam’ had genuine comedy sequences that made the film a light-hearted affair, the supposedly funny parts in ‘Annaaththe’ really fall flat. Forget laughter, they even fail to evoke a smile.
The other factor that has let the film down big time is its logic. ‘Vedalam’ and ‘Viswasam’ were also commercial entertainers, but there was a logical sequence connecting all the events in the plots of these films. That doesn’t happen in ‘Annaatthe’.
On the positive side, Keerthy Suresh does a fantastic job as Thanga Meenakshi. Her performance is impressive as she wins your heart as the adorable sister, who is unable to meet her loving brother as a result of the unfortunate situation she finds herself in.
Rajinikanth comes up with a neat performance yet again. Full marks to the actor for his excellent portrayal of Kaalaiyan, despite age not being on his side. Be it dance or fight sequences, the actor comes up with an energetic performance that is impressive to say the least.
One other factor that works in ‘Annaatthe’ are its dialogues. Some of the dialogues are meaningful and worth taking note of. For instance, the one that Rajini utters to his sister, “Your respect for me and my high expectations from you have invariably come up as a wall between us.” Or, where he says, “What matters eventually is how many people’s faces have a smile when you are alive and how many people’s faces have tears when you die. That will say what kind of a person you are.”
Dialogues apart, Imman’s music for the songs also works.
Yet, on the whole, ‘Annaatthe’ ends up being a sentimental drama that has very little to offer in terms of entertainment.