'Annaatthe' movie review: Where is the entertainment? 

'Annaatthe' movie review: Where is the entertainment? 

With 'Annaatthe', directed by Siva, the 'superstar' has starred in the most un-Rajinikanth like film

Rajinikanth in 'Annaatthe'. Credit: Twitter/@sunpictures


Tamil (Theatres) 

Director: Siva

Cast: Rajinikanth, Soori, Keerthy Suresh, Jagapathi Babu

Rating: 2/5

Commercial filmmakers often promise entertainment. But they forget that the idea of entertainment has changed over the years. People, with better experience and exposure in life, seek freshness in cinema. 

Even Rajinikanth, who is blessed with the rare ability to elevate formulaic films, has experimented in the fag end of his career. The results were mixed yet the films were talked about and never unwatchable.  

With Annaatthe, directed by Siva, the 'superstar' has starred in the most 'un-Rajinikanth like film' and that's not a compliment. The two hours and 45 minutes movie is a dull and exhaustive ride that has nothing for fans of Rajinikanth films and admirers of 'masala' films.  

Rajinikanth plays Kaalaiyan, a panchayat president. Fondly called Annaatthe, he is known for his unconditional love for his sister Thanga Meenatchi (Keerthy Suresh). With the jaded brother-sister sentiment trope, Siva churns out an extremely melodramatic television drama in the name of a film. 

Siva mistakes rural dramas to be tear-jerkers. With good writing, they can be engaging and riveting like Virumandi (2004), Paruthiveeran (2007), and Aadukalam (2011). Annaatthe, on the other hand, tells you how to not write a village drama. Though it's unfair to compare such quality works with a director not known for unique filmmaking, it's not wrong to expect him to be ambitious or at least make a decent entertainer like 'Singham' (2010). 

The film is made with zero finesse. Rajinikanth's much-loved style and charisma never let his age (he will be 71 next month) affect his performances. Yet, if his action sequences are handled in an old-school manner, he appears extremely unconvincing. Karthik Subbaraj in Petta aced the test when he showcased well-designed fight sequences that suited the aging superstar.  Siva and his team are unimaginative in this department.

Annaatthe is filled with laughable, over-the-top fight scenes. Giving the director company is D Immam, whose ear-splitting score can make you numb. 

There isn't a single scene in Annaatthe that establishes the chemistry and the emotional attachment between the brother and sister. Instead, at the drop of the hat, both of them are seen delivering long, melodramatic dialogues that are supposed to convey their love for each other.  

The film's major problem is its glorification of the male saviour complex. The women, be it Thanga Meenatchi or the heroine (Nayanthara), are shown as meek and not having a mind of their own. Having studied in a different city (Kolkata), Thanga Meenatchi is surprisingly not independent and rational enough, to at least, express her opinions. Nayanthara, who plays a lawyer, shockingly neglects her career and decides to become a yes-woman to Annaatthe as he tries to protect her sister from evil forces in Kolkata. 

Siva's poor understanding of the universe of a 'good Rajinikanth film' shines through. He picks a terrific Jagapathi Babu as the antagonist only to waste him. A powerful villain going toe-to-toe with Rajinikanth has produced some terrific entertainers. Annaatthe lacks mouth-watering hero-villain face-offs. Punchlines are what makes Rajinikanth films enjoyable. In Annaatthe we see Rajinikanth delivering long, philosophical lines on love, life, and justice and we try hard not to yawn. 

Rajinikanth shines in comic sequences and so does Soori. The late SP Balasubrahmanyam makes you nostalgic with the energetic title song. It's a pity if you expected Meena and Khushbhoo to appear in significant roles.  

We are left at wondering about what excited Rajinikanth about the film. As for Siva, it's not wrong to repeat your pet themes. But while working with a star as big as Rajinikanth, one expects inventive filmmaking from a director. 'Annnatthe' is unbearable as it's a poor mishmash of Siva's previous films (Veeram, Vedalam and Viswasam). 

Even if you know your target audiences, it's never a wise idea to take them for granted. Even the B and C centres don't deserve such a mediocre attempt.