(The main characters in the movie – Image source: http://nowrunning.com)
I used to hate Tamil movies, especially after the 1990s…
Ya, they had great music and if you throw in Sivaji Ganesan and Kamalahasan, great acting too but one thing I hated the most was the storyline – dumb and illogical. There is no logical explanation on how one hero can take on 20 or so armed gangsters and still come out alive or how a very beautiful girl from a very rich family loves a hardcore gangster from the slum on the very first day.
But in recent times, Tamil movie makers seem to have rediscovered something that been missing for a long time now in the industry – a sensible and logic storyline – a point that was well made when I saw Pandiraj directed, Sasikumar produced, award-winning Pasanga.
That movie simply blew me away with its simplicity and one of the best storyline involving children.
The story starts with a group of men going to the police station to complain about 3 young boys who been creating havoc in their village. One of them, Jeeva is also the son of a strict teacher in the local school, Nithyanandam. Life becomes a nightmare for Jeeva when Anbu’s father (Anbu is the hero in this movie) decided to move out from their old village and moves to the house opposite of Nithyanandam’s house.
On the very first day, Anbu gets into a fight with Jeeva who earlier had intended to bully Anbu. Anbu finds himself in the same class with Jeeva and where the teacher is none other Nithyanandam. Anbu who is kind-hearted, strive to befriend Jeeva but Jeeva, angry with Anbu’s success just wanted to get even with Anbu (how he does it is funny too).
Without realizing the impact of the fight with Anbu, Jeeva slowly changes – he started to dress well and improves on his studies (with intent to outsmart Anbu in studies), to much delight of his father/teacher, Nithyanandam. However, the fight between Anbu and Jeeva eventually spills over to a fight between the two families with Jeeva’s father intend to chasing away Anbu’s family from the rented house facing his house.
Infused in the main story of Anbu & Jeeva, is 2 other stories – Anbu’s uncle relationship with Jeeva’s elder sister and the fight between Anbu’s parents. The turning point comes when Anbu’s parents’ fight gets worse and Anbu’s mother asks for a divorce. The fight is overheard by Jeeva who spreads it at school; with intend to embarrass Anbu to the maximum.
Both Jeeva’s and Anbu’s fathers decided to talk things over and things start to improve for both family (Anbu’s uncle even gets engaged with Jeeva’s elder sister) but the fight between Anbu and Jeeva did not let down until Anbu meets with a tragic accident.
The story is pretty simple – it is nothing that we are not unfamiliar with in real life (and movies) but at the end of the day, what we need to ask is whether there is a lesson to be learned after watching the movie. Yes, movies are nothing but a mode of entertainment but if it is packed with the right message, movies can be a very powerful medium for betterment of life.
On the onset, the premise has been set that the main characters in this movie would be the children. The adults in the movie play the supporting role. And despite having a heavy role to play, the children excelled in their acting, so much so you would think that there is a real fight between Anbu and Jeeva.
One of the interesting things that were portrayed in this movie is the children’s imagination. Anbu imagines himself as a self-defence expert, someone driving a car or as someone who is riding a brand new motorcycle. I still recall myself imagining driving a bus (Toong Fong bus in particular) when I was still small and was staying in my grandma’s house.
My pick – Anbaale Azhagagum Veedu (sang by veteran singer, Dr Balamuralikrishna) is simply brilliant – both in lyrics and in picturisation. It comes in after Anbu’s parents reconciled and things started to get better for both Anbu and Jeeva (other than their fight, of course).
One of the heartening moments in the song is where Anbu’s father would be outside a shop and sees his son running to the school, imagining that he is riding a motorbike. Anbu’s father decides to buy a bicycle for Anbu, making his wish to come true and making him in par with Jeeva who already had a bicycle and been teasing Anbu on this.
The background music especially the violin is well deployed at the right time – like when Anbu is being teased in the classroom by Jeeva on the fight between Anbu’s father and mother – we share the pain faced by Anbu.
The plus points: Storyline, acting and music (especially the main song)
The negative points: The love scenes between Anbu’s uncle and Jeeva’s elder sister should have been kept to the minimum