Annakodi is Injurious to Health
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Bharathiraja's Annakodi is easily one of the more unintentionally funny movies I have seen. I don't think I laughed so much even while watching Theeya Velai Seyyanum Kumaru two Fridays ago. Since I am not well acquainted with his other works besides Sigappu Rojakkal, a film which I like a lot, I don't know if this is a fall from grace or a rousing return to form; I am leaning towards the latter.
I don't have much to go by here, but Bharathiraja seems to be obsessed with sex throughout the film. From suggestive, innuendo-laced elements to outright obscene phallic imagery, the film is filled with visuals which could make even the bravest of people flinch and squeam in shock. Seriously, I had to cover my eyes for the sake of my sanity.
If I allow myself to be very lenient here, I would say that there's definitely a faint hint of a half-decent story hiding somewhere in the film. It may not be wildly original, but it is still there. Masked by bad acting and abysmal direction, the film never once manages to evoke anything besides unintended humor. Bharathiraja uses storytelling techniques which are so outdated, one might wonder if he still thinks we are in the early 80s Tamil cinema. It boggles me that a person who was once counted among the industry's finest filmmakers could make a film so bad. The problems are not just incidental; they suggest an utter lack of ability.
The film's look is not helped by the digital cinematography and looks very fake. It never transports us to some village hidden in the heart of Tamil Nadu; a part of us keeps thinking this whole thing was shot in some wasteland outside Thiruverkaadu. Even G.V. Prakash Kumar's music is unmemorable.
It is not hard to see why Karthika Nair found herself drawn to this project. Many up and coming actors have been used up in a similar way by exploitative auteurs in lieu of a false hope of winning them a National Award. I hate it break her bubble, but she is winning nothing for this performance. Bharathiraja's son Manoj refuses to go away, and has once again returned in one of his father's films. The good news is Bharathiraja has been making only four films in a decade. Trust me, the less said about the lead actor, the better.