The Tamil movie left me dumbstruck the first time I watched it. During one of the occasional visits to Fordsburg (the 'Indian' area in Joburg), I spotted the DVD while dancing my way through the obstacle course of little stalls in the square. This was around 6 months ago. The humour of the week amongst my friends were the various stunts that the viewer had to endure when watching a Rajnikanth ("naanda Rajnikanth... naan lateaate sollaathe, stylee sollee...") movie. One of the classic that I can remember was the scene where there's Rajni and two villains plus Rajni's one gun with one bullet. How does he kill his attackers? Simple - he puts a knife's sharp end next to the barrel of the gun and fires. The bullet splits and hits both of his attackers. All in a day's work...
The DVD had Rajni's latest offering, Chandramukhi (an adaptation of Fazil's Manichithrathazhu - a far better outing that the Tamil version, but that's another debate), as well as 2 unknowns that I had never heard of - Anniyan & Sachien. I bought the DVD thinking I'll get my fair share of laughter through Rajni's stunts. My experience in Tamil movies was very limited. The only other movies I had seen were Minnale and Kkaka Kkaka. I enjoyed both immensely, and have been an avid fan of the director since.
After the first half an hour of Rajni's entrance and stunts, as well as a couple of minutes of the pretty Nayantara, I got bored and decided to surf the other movies. Sachien looked the typical romantic drama, so I gave that a miss. The other movie I had never heard of - not even about the main actors or the director.
The story took some time to start taking shape, but once hooked, the story started to grip me. The plot was unique, the characters were realistic, and the actors brilliant, particularly the main actor Vikram. I was impressed by the quick character-changes by the main actor between the various personalities towards the end of the movie. The direction and slick editing helped further enhance the viewing experience. It was pure exhilaration watching the Matrix-style action sequences. Vikram seemed to flow with the action and never looked awkward (credit again to the action team and the video edits). It was a change to see familiar Malayalam faces like Mani, Nedumudi Venu & Cochin Haneefa in this movie.
The highlight of the movie was definitely the gripping soundtrack (the composer is an established Harris Jayaraj who composed earlier hits for movies like Kkaka Kkaka), and the strong portrayal of the character Anniyan. The credits for the latter goes to the combined team effort of the actor, director, composer and last but definitely not least, the script writing team. Its a classic example of how a well-worked character (hero, in most cases) will drive the outcome of a movie. Other excellent examples of this include Tom Hank's Forrest Gump, Russel Crowe's Maximus Meridius, and Mel Gibson's William Wallace. A Malayalam movie hero that stand out include Mohanlal's character in Kireedam.
I enjoy watching movies where a clear evolution of a character can be seen. Usually, a difficult character reversal protrayed to perfection, sticks to my mind like butter on bread. This movie was highly entertaining and real visual head-rush. Loved it!
Pros - acting, direction, gripping plot, entertaining soundtrack.
Cons - the songs may have been forcefully entered into the movie; Prakash Raj seemed to have been wasted - his character was a bit unreal.
The movie was apparantly one of the biggest hit of the year in the Tamil film industry. Kudos to the tamil film community and audiences.