Even Rajinikanth can’t save poorly written Annaaatthe

During the scene which sets up the intermission in Annaatthe, we see a woman in difficulty coming out of a club in which the people who disturbed her are lying in a bad state, thanks to a mysterious man. As she walks away, we see this savior standing on top of a building casting a large shadow that seems to accompany her, like a sort of protective shield. It’s a great visual motif that perfectly sums up the plot of Annaatthe – a brother protecting his sister from any evil that comes his way. But it also adds another layer of meaning to the film. Nowadays, a Rajini film works better when his presence is signified in the form of a shadow or a silhouette than when the camera chooses to focus on the man himself, who has increasingly started out. to look more like the shadow of the Superstar we know. . There are times we catch him trying to play the famous Rajinikanth fans of 15 years ago, like in a scene set in court, where he berates Prakash Raj, who appears in the role. ungrateful of a minor antagonist who gets reformed by the hero.

Yes, even at 70, he does everything you expect to see him do on screen. He articulates punchlines (which lack punch now that he has cleared things up about his political entry), playfully romances the heroine (here, it’s Nayanthara, who is content to play a role that is more an extended cameo), gets emotional, gives us feedback on his previous films (here it comes in the form of Khushbu and Meena, former Rajini heroines who are now comedic support actors), shakes a leg at the songs catchy from D Imman and even sends a dozen men flying. But there is one villain that even Rajinikanth cannot defeat: bad writing! And to Annaatthe, this villain is just too strong.

The story revolves around panchayat president Kaalaiyan (Rajinikanth), affectionately referred to as Annaatthe by everyone around him, and his sister Thanga Meenatchi (Keerthy Suresh, who appears to be auditioning for the sad smiley face in an emoji movie). They adore each other like crazy. How do we know this? We are told. In a first scene, we see Kaalayian driving home Meenatchi, who has just returned after graduating from Calcutta, in a car. An old woman mentions how sad the brother was without his sister, and Meenatchi immediately becomes sentimental, and we have a flashback to a mother dying in childbirth and a brother taking on the mother’s duties and looking after her. his sister. Yes, the writing is this generic.

Then Kaalaiyan decides to organize a match for his sister. Why? Just because a couple of old women ask him when he is going to marry her! But then he wants his sister to be within a 3 mile radius, so he can come to her aid whenever she calls him. And when an alliance presents itself (the groom is a doctor), Kaalaiyan accepts. Why? Even if her sister marries a multimillionaire, she will have to go see a doctor anyway, so why not take a doctor as the groom? No, it is not mentioned in a playful way, like in the scenes before it, when the grooms say no to the man because of his violent ways, but in a very direct way. Frankly, this moment is comedy gold compared to these supposedly funny scenes.

Meanwhile, fate intervenes and the brother and sister go their separate ways. He tracks her down to Kolkata, where he sees her in serious trouble. Meenatchi not wanting to let her brother see her in such a state, Kaalaiyan decides to go after the man who made her sister’s life miserable.

If Petta looked like a pastiche from the Rajinikanth films, Annaatthe appears to be a collage made of the weakest moments of director Siva’s filmography. We have the villains of Siruthai, the ‘savior who cannot reveal his identity’ angle of Veeram, the brother-sister sentiment of Vedalam, and the rural backdrop of Viswasam. The result is a film whose emotional rhythms seem manifestly calculated and manipulative. Since the sibling bond is at the heart, we expect scenes that show us why and how Kaalaiyan and Meenatchi are close. Instead, like in the recent Udanpirappe, the characters only talk about the relationship! With that leading to an irrelevant narrative, D Imman’s use of a sentimental score hardly adds any emotional punch to the action scenes, which are shot generically.

It also doesn’t help that the bad guys are also weakly written. Most of the time, Abhimanyu’s Manoj Palekar is built like the villain, but then all he does is watch his henchmen get beaten up and run for his life. Then we get another, seemingly even more ruthless villain in the form of his half-brother Uddhav Palekar (Jagapathi Babu, who has become the go-to player in the lazily written antagonists). And he ends up being even less threatening! We only end up being sad that Mark Antony and Neelambari, the villains of the Rajinikanth movies have come down to this level! Not just villains, the Superstar also deserves better writers and directors.

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