Here is superior quality Tamil cinema as Mysskin's intricately crafted script and the slick execution of every sequences, make the film a treat to watch. The film avoids clichés and smashes stereotypes as it makes its journey from opening credits to the end. But a nail-biting thriller for over three hours… is way too lengthy.
The story opens in a police housing colony where Satyavan (Narain) and Kripa Shankar (Ajmal Ameer) both sons of police head constables (M.S.Bhaskar and Livingston) are childhood friends. They are thick friends but totally different in principles and attitude towards life. Satyavan is a happy-go-lucky irresponsible guy who spends time drinking, loitering with friends and getting into petty fights. Kripa on the other hand is serious, soft-spoken and has a big dream to join the police force through hard work and discipline. He is encouraged by his sister Uttara (Vijayalakshmi), who feels that Satya is the only bad influence in his life, as comparisons are made between the two by the residents of the colony.
One day Satya is badly humiliated by his dad for spoiling a festival day in the colony when he gets into a fight with Daya (Prasanna) a sinister guy who is running a kidnapping racket with a small time mechanic and mobster Logu (Pandirajan). Satya after this ego deflating act from his dad decides to join the force by using the clout of his uncle, a personal assistant of a powerful minister. Both Kripa and Satya appear for the police Sub-Inspectors (SI) examination, and using his clout Satya is selected while Kripa fails. This triggers the motive and twist in the tale as inevitably Kripa drifts away from his best friend and turns out to be his most bitter foe.
Meanwhile after joining the force, there is a gradual transformation in Satya who becomes more human, righteous and duty conscious in his approach to life. He fights the system from within, and soon Uttara secretly starts admiring him as he becomes her role model which irks Kripa. At the same time Daya the cunning psychopath holds the police force to ransom as he kidnaps young girls from rich families for money and also rapes them so that they will remain silent.
The police top brass set up an encounter cell under a cop (Ponvannan) to hunt down the kidnappers, and Satya is also drafted into the team. Daya who is now on the run recruits Kripa knowing that he is on a revenge romp whose only aim is to see the fall of his friend. Now it is a cat-and-mouse game between Satya and Daya who uses Kripa as a pawn, leading to a stunning nail biting climax on the outskirts of the city in a sugar cane field.
The biggest strength of Anjathey is its perfect casting, as every actor is just right for the role and you couldn’t find better actors to fill out these roles. Mysskin introduces new guys like a one- armed guy called Kuruvi (played by a former stuntman Bomb Ramesh, who lost an arm while shooting an explosion scene for a film) a go-between Satya and Kripa, he is terrific. Prasanna is a revelation as the deadly, charismatic but ruthless and terrifying psychopathic rapist Daya (the weird wig is a minus), Pandirajan without his moustache as the humorous accomplice of Daya is a scream and provides some funny moments. And Ajmal makes a promising debut; he’s clearly an actor to look out for.
Vijayalakshmi is here to stay as the sweet and lovable girl next door. Ponvannan, M.S Bhaskar and Livingstone are all aptly cast in supporting roles. Narain is astonishingly agile and lives the role of Satyavan. His drunken act and subtle comedy in the first half, the anguish, frustration and guilt giving way to tears in the second half bring out the actor in him. It is Narain’s show from the first frame to the last, a performance that will remain in your hearts to remember and savor.
Technically, the film is top class and exquisitely photographed by Mahesh Muthusamy, using a lot of top angle crane shots with the climax in the sugar cane field being picture perfect. Sunder.C.Babu’s music is peppy especially the first song in the bar Kannadasan … and the title song. To give credit where it’s due, director Mysskin delivers on both style and content and he has not shown any excessive blood and gore scenes in a story of police encounters, rapes, kidnapping and other nefarious activities.
If there’s one problem with the film is it’s too long, at 3 hours 10 minutes and as a result, at times taxes the viewers patience especially the long drawn out climax, scenes in the first half to establish the hero being reformed and sentiments injected into the plot. Moreover, it has very few commercial elements and is a bit classy.
Despite these minor hiccups, Anjathey is unmissable. It is a sparkling, fresh and innovative film from Mysskin, makes for recommended viewing.