Aneethi, the new Vasanthabalan film starring Arjun Das, is actually an attempt to understand how a psychopath is molded. When I look back at the movie, the germ of the idea is pretty fascinating. Because in all the films, we see flashbacks after someone has become this psycho-killer kind of person. Vasanthabalan opts for a more linear approach, but sadly the screenplay’s inefficiency in structuring the journey properly makes it a film that never manages to make us empathize with its main lead.
Thirumeni, aka Thiru, is a young man working as a delivery boy for a food delivery app. His life is going through a struggle, and the insults that came with this job were psychologically affecting him. His doctor told him that he has a particular kind of OCD that gives him killing instincts. During the course of medication, he meets a girl named Subbu, who works as a maid. We see how this relationship proceeded and how the lower middle-class backdrop of these two changes things for both in Aneethi.
The effort is to blend a lot of the class divide that exists in society as a reason for someone to become psychologically troubled. Thiru’s roommates, his company, his customers, Subbu’s employers, Thiru’s father’s employer, and the police are all, in a way, culprits for making him the beast he eventually becomes. The issue is that every track has this very isolated feel. The things that happen in the room have a pretty comedic texture. The workplace issues are not appropriately addressed. The discrimination angle featuring Subbu’s story is the only one that feels engaging. Then the story goes to a flashback about the hero’s childhood. Instead of feeling a sense of empathy towards him, the disjoint nature of these tracks makes us look at it as an excuse.
Regarding the film’s writing, Vasanthabalan somewhat overdoes everything in each subplot. The Subbu track, for instance, has the main antagonists in the story. But the way they have been introduced into the movie is quite mawkishly. There is a moment in the film where one of them actually goes to the police station and tries to shoot Thiru and Subbu. There is a Malayali among them, and it is kind of sad to see Tamil filmmakers using Google translate-level flawed Malayalam in their films. The use of that mimicry artist with a humor layer that doesn’t suit the movie at all was another example of Vasanthabalan’s misjudgment. The finale with Thiru going on a killing spree is relatively compelling, and Vasanthabalan even tries for a “Shining” tribute to Kubrick. But the lack of flow in how it reached that point is not helping the climax be all that emotional.
Arjun Das, with that rugged look and that signature bass voice, is a no-brainer choice to play the character of Thiru. The good thing is that the movie has him being vulnerable, soft, and going psychic, offering the guy a lot of space to prove his mettle. Dushara Vijayan, as Subbu, the empathetic soul who is forced to feed her whole family, portrayed the character neatly. From the initial bits of mystery to those crying and clueless phases of that character, Dushara transforms very believably as this highly vulnerable character. Vanitha Vijayakumar and Suresh Chakravarthi were pretty much annoying. Kaali Venkat’s dialogue delivery was interesting, even though the writing of that part of the movie was unexciting.
Aneethi is not a movie that feels hastily made or written. It had the potential to be a drama that creates a lingering pain in our hearts as we come out of the theater. But the script indulges too much on each subplot, and these episodes remain stranded and don’t merge well to be an empathy-inducing compelling backstory for a psychopath.
The script indulges too much on each subplot, and these episodes remain stranded and don't merge well to be an empathy-inducing compelling backstory for a psychopath.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended