Annaatthe Review: Overdose of melodrama spoils the fun
Annaatthe is director Siva’s attempt to bring back the Rajinikanth to the rural space after a huge gap. For that, the director has added some outdated 90s formula and rehashed scenes from his own previous films. The end result is a mess that falls way short of the expectations.
Rajinikanth and Keerthy Suresh play siblings in the film and their brother-sister bonding is the theme around which the narrative is woven. Rajinikanth plays Kalaiyyan, a rich and influential man from Soorakottai. His whole life revolves around his sister, Thanga Meenatchi. Once she returns back from North India after completing her graduation, the family decides to get her married. Kalaiyyan wants to marry her off in a nearby village so that they’re always in close proximity. However, the sister has other ideas and leaves Kalaiyyan shattered. It is then learnt that Thanga Meenatchi leads a miserable life in Kolkata. Kalaiyyan lands there to help her out without letting her know of his presence.
This is a proper 80s-90s formulaic story, which could have worked even today if done well. But the overdose of melodrama and lack of ingenious writing pulls the film down. Siva seems to have run out of ideas as he has taken many a leaf out of his previous films ‘Veeram’, ‘Vedhalam’ and ‘Viswasam’.
If the Kolkata setting, multiple villains and brother-sister bonding reminds you of ‘Vedhalam’, the saving-someone-without-their-knowledge is a recurring trope in all the 3 films mentioned above. The hero’s village, his extended family, him going to North India to bring back his closed one are exactly similar to ‘Viswasam’. Even Nayanthara looks straight out of ‘Viswasam’, just that she gets upgraded from a doctor to a lawyer here.
Keerthy Suresh’s character Thanga Meenatchi has to be the most poorly character in ‘Annaatthe’. Here is an educated woman with absolute no agency. A damsel in distress waiting for her brother to rescue her. The entire second half of the film has her either terrified or crying, running through the streets of Kolkata, and constantly looking for her brother — he is just a stone’s throw away, but yeah, she can’t see him. An unintentionally hilarious scene is when she asks a bleeding thug — ungala yaaruda adichath? Enga annan aada? The laughs that should have been during the initial village portions came out bursting during this scene, which is just five minutes before the end credits.
Rajinikanth does everything he can but age is clearly showing. Just like ‘Darbar’, the superstar fails miserably in emotional scenes. It is not like he’s lost the touch. Remember ‘Kabali’ and ‘Kaala’. While Pa Ranjith succeeded, Siva faltered abysmally.
Expectations were high for the scenes involving Khushbu, Meena and Rajinikanth. But the whole sequence turns out to be a farce. Just like Siva’s previous films except ‘Viswasam’, the baddies are a bunch of loud dimwits. While Abhimanyu Singh is the stylish suited foolish villain, Jagapathi Babu is supposed to be the menacing don from the rural side. Both of them are nothing but caricaturish.
Imman’s songs are pretty decent but the background score is ridiculously loud. Every time Keerthy Suresh senses the presence of Rajinikanth, Imman goes full-on serial mode. It is hard to believe that this is the same composer who won the National award last year for a similar film with the same director.
In short, ‘Annaatthe’ is a failed attempt to recreate the 80s, 90s Rajinikanth potboilers. It is neither the superstar’s Muthu, nor the director’s Viswasam.