Anjaathey was one of the most popular Tamil films of 2008 and received rave reviews particularly for writer-director Mysskin. However, the film having shades of the Shammi Kapoor-Sanjeev Kumar starrer Sachai (1969), is engrossing enough fare having its moments but without being truly great. It is a fairly good mainstream Tamil film and that’s about it.
Sathya (Narain) and Kiruba (Ajmal Ameer) are close friends living opposite each other in the neighbourhood. Sathya is a rowdy who drinks heavily and is always getting involved in fights. Kiruba studies hard to become a Sub-Inspector(SI). Though he and Kiruba passed college with a first class degree, Satya has no interest in joining the police force like both their fathers. Kiruba’s sister Uttra (Vijayalakshmi) feels Sathya is a bad influence on Kiruba. At a village function Daya (Prasanna) tries to rape Uttra but she is saved by Sathya who then beats up Daya. Sathya’s father humiliates him thinking he’s up to his antics yet again. Sathya decides to apply to join the Police Force and becomes a SI through dubious means. Kiruba, for all his hard work, fails to get selected. His frustration drives him towards drinking and he starts to hate Sathya. Once in the police force, Sathya begins to turn into a caring human being while Kiruba, his hatred towards Sathya mounting, starts drifting towards crime and joins up with Daya…
Mysskin by and large manages to score in treatment and style to make watchable fare out of otherwise a standard friends turned foes story. Kiruba’s turnabout is credible enough as is Sathya’s and that is what gives the film its strength as the two actors ‘switch’ characters. Sathya’s romatic track with Uttra is handled well as well with sublety. And no doubt, the film has a couple of real high moments. The scene where Kiruba hides Daya in his house and Uttra lands up unexpectedly is handled brilliantly with the camera kept low and catching the tension of all the characters just through their feet as they move about the house. Unfortunately, flourishes like these are sporadic. The climax in the sugar cane fields too is executed well enough bringing the film to a satisfying enough ending.
What really lets down the film finally is its running length of three hours plus. The film’s story is not taut enough for such a length and the second half, in particular, tends to drag on and on. A sequence like the opening scene though raved about and shot with an unnnecessary dramatic angle ultimately comes off quite silly. The villain’s track with Prasanna too doesn’t work and brings down the film a notch or two. A film like this needed a far more memorable villain. Daya is not it.
Looking at the performances, Narain acquits himself reasonably well as the rowdy Sathya who turns into a good cop but the performance of the film is really Ajmal’s. He is extremely convincing as the hardworking young man who sees his dream go up in smoke when he fails the SI exam and turns to drinks and crime in frustration. Vikayalakshmi lends perfect support as Uttra but the weak link in the performances is Prasanna’s negative act. Though it is commendable for him to have experimented with such a role, his look (weird hairstyle) and performance is much too mannered and fails to make the impact it should have. Pandiarajan as Logu makes a strong impact.
Technically, the film is well shot even though the camerawork is obvious with in your face camera angles, the music is adequete with Kattazha Kannale Kuthatha proving extremely popular.
All in all, Anjaathey is watchable fare but not the masterpiece it is being made out to be.
Tamil, Action, Drama, Color