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Ananthapuram-1980 (Subramanyapuram) : Movie Review

May 17, 2009

For all those who always rue about the dearth of good movies, here’s a new release named “Ananthapuram-1980”,starring Jai Sampath, Sasikumar and (Colours) Swathi. This new Telugu movie is a dubbed version of a 2008 Tamil flick, “Subramaniapuram”. Directed by Sasikumar, the film is a true story based on the events in Subramaniapuram (a town in Tamil Nadu) in 1980. It tells the story of 5 friends who hail from the town of Subramaniapuram and their tryst with politics and crime.

Brahma (Jai), Shankar (Sasikumar), Kasi (Ganja Karrupu) along with two others are close friends and also act as the henchmen of a local politician Somalingam. These friends who are unemployed, often get themseleves into trouble by indulging in petty fights in their town, but everytime Somalingam and his brother Ranga come to their rescue. Brahma falls in love with Thulasi (Swathi), who’s the daughter of Somalingam and his feelings are reciprocated. Having lost his political influence, Somalingam rues about his condition and when the ZPTC chairman post is given to his opponent, he goes berserk. This is when Ranga convinces Brahma, Shankar, Kasi to come to his brother’s rescue. What follows next is a bloody tale of politics, crime, betrayal and revenge…something which has to be seen on screen to admire the intensity of this wonderful film.

Of the star cast, Jai and Sasikumar impress with their brilliant and intense performances. The slang, overgrown beard, the restlessness and the burning desire pour life into their rustic personalities in this flick. And the result is amazing. Swathi does a decent job as Thulasi, the girl who’s in love with Brahma. All she does is smile and cry, but the expressions in her eyes are poetic. Ganja Karrupu provides a bit of comic relief with his role as Kasi. Of the rest, Samuthurakani as Ranga delivers a credible performance as Thulasi’s uncle. The others definitely add great value to the script.

If there’s something which will be talked about in this movie, it has to be the Cinematography and the authentic 1980’s look. Cinematography by S.R. Kathiir is top notch, infact I should say, this should be a prescribed movie for every budding cinematography in film schools. Almost shot in a documentary film style, Kathiir weaves magic with the camera angles adding charm to the setting of Subramaniapuram. The other thing is the authentic 1980’s feel in the movie. There’s hippie style, bell bottoms, tight pants, only cycles and scooters, Ambassadors, filterless cigarretes, wooden framed TV sets… WOW! I guess there’s not a blooper when it comes to the setting, unless I am missing something clearly. Music by James Vasanthan is good, especially the first song in the flick is a melodious track. The background score in some of the action sequences add a whole lot of  meaning. The direction by Sasikumar, who also acted in this movie is fantastic. His style of story telling maybe simple, but it has the all the nuances to strike the right chord.

There’s an other side of this movie too. The dubbing in Telugu is a bit silly given the seriousness of the theme. Since the film is based on true events and I presume the writers and the director didn’t want to compromise on that. Hence, you don’t find any artistic liberties to make the script more interesting. This in a way turns out to be a bane for the movie as far as the audience reaction is concerned. It’s tough for the masala film loving audiences to like depressing themes all the way and as a result the film loses a big share in the audience.

Leaving all that aside, Ananthapuram-1980, is something which falls somewhere between a brilliant and a bold film. It caters to a limited audience, but the impact is great. If you admire films which don’t compromise on the script, this is exactly what you should be watching. A bold attempt and great debut for Sasikumar as a director. I can’t believe that low budget flicks can be this brilliant! Kudos to Kollywood.

P.S: If you are planning to watch this flick, please do so in the next 5 days. Next week two big releases are going to hit the screen and Ananthapuram will soon be a thing of the past.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. svr permalink
    May 18, 2009 12:41 am

    good review sir i didnt watch the movie but after reading the review i am eager to watch this flick all reading ur posts seems that you have greater insights into ascepts of life great going sir all the best

    • Hemanth permalink*
      May 18, 2009 1:41 am

      @ SVR: Thanks…:) Hope you liked the other posts on the blog!..:)…Keep reading.

  2. May 18, 2009 10:03 am

    Heard through a frnd, that the movie is too gory… But I want to watch it.

    • Hemanth permalink*
      May 18, 2009 2:39 pm

      @ Anantha: Yeah dude, there’s quite a bit of violence in the flick. But it’s pretty realistic on screen! Do watch it…it’s a bold flick!

  3. Swati. permalink
    June 5, 2009 11:00 pm

    This review makes me so happy. Am glad there are some sensible telugu movie viewers left out here. Thanks,u made my day.

    • Hemanth permalink*
      June 6, 2009 12:00 am

      @Swati: It’s a beautiful movie, sadly it’s not a commercial flick. You should definitely watch it if you are looking for some authentic sensible flick!..:) Thanks for dropping by…hope you like my other posts as well….:)

  4. sandeep permalink
    July 7, 2009 7:52 am

    I stumbled on to your site when I googled up reviews for this film. I usually go to standard trade sites (read Idle brain) and consume whatever they dole out.
    This is my first time reading one of your reviews. Apart from this movie I have also skimmed through couple of your other reviews and your pitch about your fascination of movies.
    your reviews are some of the more honest ones I have read in a blog especially coming from the culture where we all seek gratification in pandering to the collective thought. I have not made up my mind whether to place you as a regular reviewer with an honest opinion or a serious film critic. I am assuming you have not had formal training in the film media. Be assured that I will watch out for your reviews regularly !!!



    • Hemanth permalink*
      July 7, 2009 12:26 pm

      @Sandeep: Well, for now, I am a serious film buff with an honest opinion!…:) Yes, I haven’t undergone any formal training in film studies but I do have plans to undergo one sometime soon. I have been reading some articles on Film Studies and follow reviews by Roger Ebert and for all Hollywood and Foreign Flicks is a must read for some brilliant reviews…I understand that I can’t watch and write about Telugu cinema as one would for a Hollywood or European Cinema, but atleast I thought I could change the way one writes about movies. These days on many websites the reviews are like a grid which quantify a technical aspect of film as good or bad. I have been trying to justify that aspect and write a little more about what makes it good or bad. Hopefully, I think I will learn a lot about film criticism in the coming days…:)
      Yeah…I think I will be more careful in terms of adapting a holistic approach for Movie Reviews…and you could be my critic!..:D…thanks for dropping in…:)

      • sandeep permalink
        July 8, 2009 5:28 am

        good to know that you do follow Ebert and Roeper and RT community. They are pretty big bunch. I think I read somewhere in one of your posts that mood of the critic shows through in the review and can lead to potential bias. That has been a very recurring issue with E and R especially in lieu of Ebert’s failing health which does not allow him to be as prolific as he was before.


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