Hip Hop Adi made his mark as an independent musician. Today he is also an actor, film producer, music director and producer. He knows his limits as an actor and tries his best to sell his performance. After Sivakumarin Sabdham, Adi is back with a family drama titled Anbarivu, which released today, January 7.
Anbarivu follows the story of separated twins – Anbu and Arivu. At its core is a family feud, often seen as a quarrel between two villages. Anbarivu is about two fictional villages – Arsapatti and Andipatti – about casteism and the age-old traditional practices followed in the two villages.
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Muniyandi’s (Napoleon) daughter Lakshmi (Asha Sharath) falls in love with Prakasam (Sai Kumar) and decides to marry him. Prakasam belongs to Andipatti village, where people are tortured. Muniyadi allows ‘Lakshmi’ to marry Prakasam. Eventually, we see that Prakasam is being treated disrespectfully and is a lower caste person. But, the film doesn’t actually utter the word ‘caste’. And we don’t know why.
The word caste (caste) appears only once in the film; On many occasions, it is referred to as ‘Kolgai’ (ideology). I’m all for the gray characters, but Anbarivu reserves it only for the villainous Pasupati. Muniyaandi, on the other hand, makes teddy bears from Anbu and Lakshmi, only to lightly reprimand them for all their problematic behaviour. Above all, caste conflict is presented as a ‘family problem’.
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The good Dalit Prakasam also gave a ‘thank you’ to Muniyandi for marrying Lakshmi considering his ‘background’. The people of Andipatti, who were repeatedly humiliated, are expected to forget everything they faced immediately as Muniyandi realized his ‘stupidity’. Even at the end, in a ‘love conquers all’ moment, the men of both villages share a sense of respect in the village festival. However, women are excluded from this.
Anbarivu also suffers from performance issues. The film breaks the cardinal rule of cinema’s ‘show, not not’. After Arivu’s Fina the idea of Anbu and Arivu’s mas/cool is to wear sunglasses – it doesn’t matter if it’s raining or they’re at home. Everything seems to be in turmoil, especially in parts of Canada, where Arivu sometimes learns pronounced English, to remind us that she is an NRI.
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However, apart from him, no one else has an accent. Pasupati is a minister, but it seems he has no other job but to cast a shadow over the Muniyandi family. (It was fun to see good boy Vidarth play a villain. He seemed to be enjoying it to the fullest.) The dialogue, the emotions, seem fanciful. It features a heroine, Kalai (Kashmira) who remembers being a doctor when she is in the hospital.
However, in times of need, like a road accident or a fight, she is satisfied by being a crying bystander. Less can be said about the other female lead, Yazini (Kayal), who appears to be only because Anbu was in need of a love interest. (The hiphop half gets credit for the story of Ambarivu.)
Anbarivu is being promoted as ‘family entertainer’. And I am starting to wonder why Tamil cinema introduces these family entertainers as time warp portals. (Annathe is another film that was marketed in a similar way.) Some of our biggest commercial stars are experimenting with styles and forms and finding great success. There is a dire need to stop treating the ‘song-fight-message-screechy melodrama’ template as ‘family friendly’. Our families have moved on.
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It never stops how it can be that a film like Anbarivu which runs for close to three hours can be devoid of even a single sincere emotional moment. Isolation, death, separation, parental neglect… and yet, Anbarivu, oblivious of the importance and importance of these themes, is eager to investigate what this commercial cinema box is all about. Have both twins been assigned girlfriends? Has enough pride been communicated about Madurai and Jallikattu? Are the handlebar whiskers in place?
And yes, in case you didn’t know, hiphop is half of this movie with Anbu and Arivu (and I’ve caught myself thinking that these names are also inspired by the popular stunt-choreographer twins, Anbareev). In true-blue Tamil cinema fashion, they differ by a number of expected factors, but nothing more than a fighting ability. At the end of this film, when I’ve lost all hope and can’t wait to get out of my misery, the film turns mildly interesting with the humble, affectionate Arivu’s refusal to support and set up a climax. Fighting, in which the twins can be expected to literally join hands to defeat opponents. However, it is too little, too late…