Friday, May 9, 2008




It might seem vague, but it sure is a lot sensible to compare Mysskin’s ANJAADHE, with another movie on the ghetto, namely Vetrimaran’s POLLADHAVAN. Doing so, adds a lot more credibility to your work, for both the movies have the same flaws, being the heroine, and certain songs. While in Polladhavan it was the whole album, in Anjaadhe, it’s just a single number in the form of ‘Kathaazha Kannala’ (Surprise, isn’t it?), which is the only song this year to be promoted to the anthem level. The heroine are mere extra additions in both movies for both are male dominated, despite Anjaadhe dealing with women-nappers, since performers are strong men in both cases. Polladhavan showcased some of tamil’s finest muscles, while in Anjaadhe, mental spunk was the main aspect, amidst the flabs.

So what really let the serious Anjaadhe drop down below a completely commercial Polladhavan, that lost all sensiblity but delighted us all the same in a riveting climax? Ahhhh…. There it is: The climax. That’s the problem with Anjaadhe. Though lot more engrossing than Polladhavan, this piece of cinema has the worst last half-hour the director could ever have in store, and yes the climax in itself is nearly a half-hour. When you’ve created a steam that blazes one second and sparks in another, you’d expect a blast in the climax, with all the darkness in the movie turned into a violent explosion. City of God had that and so did Reservoir Dogs. But that’s exactly what Mysskin’s Anjaadhe failed miserably in, for the climax was a faithful reminder that this was for the tamil audience to watch.

That doesn’t mean Anjaadhe is worthless: It just means it lets you down, for you always increase your expections a million-fold when you’re viewing a movie already elevated to the zenith. The director made me exclaim with glee a lot of times, the longest being a song-sequence, a whole 10-minute scene that told me perfectly that the female lead was in love with the male, without any subsequent hints at it. He also took my breath away for a moment by the way in which he had treated a scene in which Kripa (Ajmal) sees his lungi wrapped around a victim of Daya’s (Prasanna) with a battalion of policemen watching. The scene was in slowmo, devoid of any music but the sound of the movie’s overactor hitting hard on the helmet he wore in agony. Touching really is the scene when M.S.Bhaskar hits Narain with his slippers after an untidy brawl in the middle of a religious celebration. The whole sequence with a couple of Vijay’s numbers in the background is stupendous and the editor needs to be given a special applause for not using any jump-cuts through the whole length of the movie, that’s a fad nowadays…

Dark cinematography, great camera angles, some really good cinematic exploits make Anjaadhe a visual delight: A delicacy rather. Mysskin knows his ethics too, when he makes his protagonist change after the insulting encounter with his dad, when he makes Ajmal change heart after seeing his gift on his friend’s (Narain) chest, and when he knows which way to choose to kill off a smiling Prasanna that would have made Krishna from the Mahabharatha proud. He also knew what he was doing when he chose his last film’s music director again, for the background score is a huge asset for the movie. The extensive use of the violin, and rather sober melodies of the score confirms the director’s craze for Jap movies. The duet is fantastic, and is one of the best contemporarily, thanks to some phenomenal music, and great choreography and art direction.

Which brings us to the climax – An unnecessary drag that really kills your overall respect for the movie. Halfway through it, you start hoping the movie ends the next minute, and get terribly infuriated when it goes on for eternity. Cliché is the ruling term for the climax consulting a dictionary of cinematic abuse terms, for the director fails to let go of the hero-villain barehand fight, or the usual I’m-not-going-to-kill-you-when-I’m-a-policeman act of the hero, or a more infuriating cliché when Ajmal kills unwantedly a very active performer in the one-armed Kuruvi, by shooting right on a T-shirt that has the symbol of peace on it. Also a potent good movie-killer is the hero living up to what he said in the end and nothing surplus. Some other enigmas of the movie are the casting and also the character of Pandiarajan as Logu, and a Motta who is called the same, whose face is deliberately not shown throughout the movie! But inspite of it’s cliché, one positive aspect of the climax is that it lives upto all it’s predispositions, and without doubt, all the happenings of the climax are predisposed.

Underplay rules the movie, the exceptions being an annoying Pandiarajan, and to some extent and in some scenes, the young new Ajmal. Though lifting your adrenalin levels in promo shows, the Kathazha Kannala number, with some great camerawork, and fantastic choreography is the film’s Heroin, depressing the pace set up already, and wasting a very valuable 5 minutes.

Overall, Anjaadhe is a new tint to Tamil Cinema in which people used to belive good cinema was all about soap-operas and dramas. An intense action thriller, with a little lenghty climax: that doesn’t bring it a lot down, does it?

P.S. I know my review drags on and on, but who can blame me? I saw Anjaadhe, didn’t I? ;)

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