A rural potboiler with no soul
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To enjoy Bharathiraja’s “Annakodi”, you need to time travel into the past to the era where he ruled the industry with his films mostly set against rural backdrop. Wielding the megaphone after five long years, veteran filmmaker returns to narrate a love story set primarily around 3 villages - Kaariyaapatti, Urapatti and Kidaripatti, and the movie has all the elements of a rural potboiler.
There is absolutely no novelty in the film as the story revolves around a village love story that faces the wrath of near and dear ones. Annakodi and Kodiveeran, who hail from neighboring villages, fall in love with each other. However, the force that stops them from being together is Annakodi's mother and the village headman's evil son Sadaiyan.
The film bears lot of resemblance to the director's debut classic '16 Vayathinile' and the characters as well remind us of the ones from the original. No matter how hard you try not to relate the film with the classic, there are barely any moments that could convince that the film doesn’t bear similarities.
Karthika as Annakodi lives up to her character. With her natural beauty and effortless performance, she breathes life into her character. Her character also wins her sympathy in the second half when she undergoes lot of pain. Manoj Bharati, who is making a comeback after a long time, doesn’t hesitate to play his unconventional character. Lakshman as the protagonist is effective but he lacks the basic expressions in the most emotional scenes with Karthika.
We all are aware of the director’s passion for village milieu, but living in 21st century and being exposed to so many films, including foreign cinema, we expect some amount of creativity. Even though there is some amount of authenticity in recreating the village backdrop to perfection, the story doesn’t engage the audience to enjoy the effort.
After years, Bharathiraja comes back to educate us on caste, creed, religion in love, but the concept has been milked dry for years now. The film will be totally alien to multiplex goers and might touch the hearts of a few in the village, but on the whole it lacks a soul.