Created: Sat Mar 20 21:01:55 2010 | Last modified: Sat Mar 20 21:19:18 2010
Starring: Rajnikanth, Khushboo, Sharathbabu
Direction: Suresh Krishna
In many ways, Annamalai is a landmark movie in Rajnikanth's distinguished career. It introduced Rajni's famous "Superstar" signature tune and was probably the movie which influenced the growth of his stylized image in his later hit movies. Annamalai is also a very well directed and focussed movie and its storyline is simple, but involved. An all-round entertainment package, it entertains the viewer throughout - although it does get slightly too dramatic in the last half - something which detracts from the main theme of the movie, which is the friendship between two unlikely characters - Annamalai, a humble, but fairly well-to-do milkman (and dairy farm owner) and Ashok (Sharathbabu), the son of a wealthy, high class businessman (played by Radha Ravi).
Annamalai and Ashok are close friends from childhood, but due to a variety of circumstances, Ashok and Annamalai fall apart (mainly due to the scheming of Ashok's father who is determined to see an end to their friendship). Although neither are to blame entirely for the breaking of ties, Annamalai is convinced that Ashok destroyed his house and vows to do the same to Ashok after working his way to wealth and riches. In this challenge he certainly succeeds, but around this period the story starts lagging. The saving grace comes in the form of Sargunam (played by Nizhalgal Ravi) who wormed his way into Annamalai's confidence during the latter's rise in fortunes and became his brother-in-law. Since Sargunam abuses his wife and Annamalai comes to know of this, there is hell to pay... and so the final showdown between Annamalai and Sargunam's paid right-hand man John leads to a action-packed climax and a feel-good ending.
Overall this movie is light-hearted and doesn't grate the viewer too much with sentiments. Although there are some emotional scenes, none of them go over the top and blend well into the storyline. There are also plenty of humourous scenes in the first half - a good contrast to the serious latter half, and makes the movie well rounded. Rajnikanth's acting is subdued but he emotes well in most of the demanding sequences. Sharathbabu is an ideal foil to Rajnikanth and the two actors share a good on-screen chemistry. Most of the other actors have little to do but they do their parts well where necessary. I rate this movie quite highly as it can be watched quite a few times without boring the viewer.