Cast: Lakshman Narayan, Karthika, Manoj and others
Music: GV Prakash Kumar
Veteran director Bharathiraja is back with Annakodi, his own brand of village-based love-story. The Septuagenarian filmmaker, who is credited with having rewritten the face of Tamil cinema in the seventies with some realistic films, continued to make films set in rural backdrops. Occasionally, he would move away to city-based scripts but his heart and soul always lived in the rural Tamil Nadu. In Annakodi, he has once again proved beyond doubt that he is the ‘master’ when it comes to narrating rural love stories with nativity.
For Annakodi, Bharathiraja has cast Karthika, daughter of his own protégé Radha, in lead role opposite debutant Lakshman Narayan, who plays Kodiveeran. Bharathiraja’s son Manoj, who was away from films for a long time, makes a comeback playing Sadayan,the villain .
Annakodi and Kodiveeran are madly in love with each other. The former hails from a higher caste while the latter is the son of a shoe-maker, of lower caste. Enters Sadayan, son of a man-eating money-lender, who has eyes cast on Annakodi who snubs him at every meeting. A womanizer, Sadayan preys on others’ wives and makes them succumb to his lust by loaning out money to their husbands who are unable to pay up the interest and principal.
When Kodiveeran’s father meets Annakodi’s mother to talk about marriage of his son and her daughter, the latter gets angry that a lower caste man has dared to seek her daughter’s hand in marriage for his son. The caste-conscious villagers bash up Kodiveeran and his father; with the wily Sadayan’s help, they ensure that Kodiveeran is put behind bars on false charges.
An unexpected accident takes Annakodi’s mother away, leaving her at the disposal of Sadayan from whom the family had taken some loan. Sadayan cleverly manipulates the situation to get Annakodi forcefully married to him so as to settle her family’s ‘loans’. This leaves Kodiveeran heart-broken. Watch the film to find out whether he manages to come out of the jail and rescues his ladylove from the villain.
Annakodi Script analysis
Bharathiraja, a master story teller, has unfortunately opted for a old story. It is nothing but a triumph of love against a sadistic rich man. The script too has nothing new to offer. The only saving points are Bharathiraja’s nativity and Karthika.
The ‘life’ is missing in the romantic sequences between the lead pair; most of those moments are narrated in flashback. As such, the passionate romance which ought to be an integral part of such romantic stories, has somehow gone missing from the film. The comments from the audiences indicate that the period of such rural romantic stories might well be over. There are many twists and turns in the second half while the first half is rather slow.
Karthika, who debuted in the successful Ko more than two-and-a-half years back, has delivered a stunning performance. Her wide eyes help her express many emotions in one go. She has done full justice to the trust that Bharathiraja kept in her. Here is an actress who looks quite adept in character-driven roles as well as glamour-filled roles.
Debutant Narayan has done his part aptly but can hardly help if the script is rather skewed and the narration weak. Manoj looks perfect as a villain and may have found a new career without him being aware of it. Others have played their respective parts well enough.
G.V. Prakash Kumar’s music is appropriate and some songs are very good but don’t stay in the mind once you emerge from the hall.
The events are rather predictable and so is the flow of the story. The first half moves is very slowly and is somewhat compensated by a more pacy second-half.
• Karthika’s looks and performance
• GVP’s songs and background score
• Old story and clichéd screenplay
• Overall slowness of the film