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Anniyan poster.jpg
Directed by S. Shankar
Produced by Venu Ravichandran
Screenplay by S. Shankar
Sujatha Rangarajan
Story by S. Shankar
Music by Harris Jayaraj
Editing by V. T. Vijayan
Studio Aascar Films
Distributed by
Release dates 10 June 2005 (2005-06-10TWorldwide)
Running time 181 minutes
Country India
Language Tamil
Budget INR 29 Crore
Box office INR 86 Crore

Anniyan (English: Stranger) is a 2005 Indian Tamil vigilante film directed and written by S. Shankar, with the dialogues by Sujatha Rangarajan. The film stars Vikram, Sadha, Prakash Raj, and Vivek in the lead roles. The background score and soundtrack was composed by Harris Jayaraj. The film was released worldwide on 10 June 2005.

The film took over two years to complete.[1] The film was dubbed into Hindi as Aparichit: The Stranger, in Telugu as Aparichithudu, and was also the first Tamil film to be dubbed into French.[2] It was produced and distributed in India by Venu Ravichandran's Aascar Films. The film won 8 awards at the Filmfare Awards South, the National Film Award for Best Special Effects, and a Tamil Nadu State Award.


Vikram as Anniyan, a psychotic serial killer, which won him the Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Tamil.

Ambi aka Ramanujam Iyengar (Vikram) is an innocent and honest lawyer hailing from an orthodox Iyengar family. If he comes across anyone not obeying the law, he files cases against them. His regular habit to be perfect in rules and honesty leads him to develop a Multiple Personality Disorder in which a new personality in him grows as "Anniyan" (Vikram), a grim reaper-themed killer. Anniyan is violent and deranged, and Ambi has no clue that such a monster exists within him. Anniyan kills lawbreakers by methods used for torturing people in hell, as mentioned in the Garuda Purana. He then indicates the Sanskrit name for the punishment used at the place where he kills them. Some of these punishments are-

  • Anthakoopam- A man (Cochin Haneefa) refused to help an old man in a critical condition. Anniyan forces a herd of buffaloes to stampede him to death.
  • Kumbipakam- A railway catering contractor Chockalingam (Shanmugarajan) failed to provide decent food for the railway passengers. Anniyan tosses him into a pot of oil and fries him to death.
  • Krimiibhojanam- A brake factory owner (Saurabh Shukla) sent a group of thugs to kill Ambi, who had filed a case against the factory for supplying defective brakes. While Ambi is being beaten up by the thugs, Anniyan is triggered who overpowers them. Then he ties the owner to a tree and dumps leeches onto his body.

DCP Prabhakar (Prakash Raj) and Chari (Vivek), a friend of Ambi, investigate the murders committed by Anniyan. Incidentally, Prabhakar is the younger brother of Chockalingam. Prabhakar decides to avenge his brother's death by pursuing Anniyan.

Ambi is in love with his neighbour Nandhini (Sadha), a medical student who also teaches music. Ambi proposes to her, but she rejects him due to his staunch following of rules. A distraught Ambi then attempts suicide, but is saved when a third personality comes to life within him. This persona, a suave fashion model named "Remo" (Vikram), woos Nandhini, who instantly falls for him.

Later, Nandhini acquires land in Tambaram, but buys it at less than the original amount to avoid paying tax to the government. Ambi is saddened by Nandhini's act, triggering Anniyan. Anniyan chases Nandhini and tries to kill her, but then reverts to Ambi, who does not know where he is and what he is doing and falls unconscious. A terrified Nandhini then takes Ambi to NIMHANS, where he is diagnosed with multiple personality disorder. Ambi reveals to the psychiatrist (Nassar) his dark past: when he was 10 years old, he witnessed the tragic death of his 8-year-old sister Vidya, due to civic apathy. The psychiatrist concludes that the death of Vidya resulted in the development of this psychological disorder. He also triggers Anniyan and Remo and finds out that while Anniyan and Remo are fully aware about Ambi's existence, albeit as a separate person, Ambi has no clue about his multiple personalities. The psychiatrist then comes to the conclusion that while Remo can disappear if Nandhini accepts Ambi's love, Anniyan can only disappear if India is free from all its ills. Nandhini eventually accepts Ambi's love and Remo disappears.

Later, Anniyan reveals himself at a gathering at Nehru Stadium. He addresses the problems faced by India and the punishments he has used to tackle them. He wins the outright support of the people due to his ideas and methods. Meanwhile, Prabhakar and Chari continue their investigation and find out that Anniyan is none other than Ambi. Ambi is arrested and is taken to the police control room, where he is brutally assaulted by Prabhakar in retaliation for killing his brother and is left to die. The near-death experience triggers Anniyan, who beats up Prabhakar and four other officers severely, leaving them badly injured. Prabhakar turns up in a wheelchair to Ambi's trial, where it is revealed to all that he suffers from multiple personality disorder. Ambi is sentenced to two years of psychological treatment in a mental hospital after which, if he is cured, he will be released.

Two years later, Ambi is released and he marries Nandhini. By now, his puritan adherence to protocol has diminished. While travelling on a train during their honeymoon, Ambi notices a man (the person who was responsible for Ambi's sister's death several years ago) drinking in front of women. He suffers a relapse on seeing this, transforms into Anniyan and kills the man by throwing him off the train. However, he hides the crime from Nandhini, proving that instead of eradicating Anniyan, he has become successful in blending the personalities of Ambi, Anniyan and Remo into one.



The launch of the film was held at AVM Studios in Vadapalani, Chennai on 4 March 2004 with the attendance of the cast and crew. At the event, Shankar revealed that the film would take six months to make and suggested that the film would be released during the Diwali season of 2004, which ultimately was missed by close to nine months.[3][4] The first schedule took place in Amsterdam, Netherlands with the filming of a song – "Kumaari" – in the backdrop of a large flower garden in Vijfhuizen. The team initially hoped to film two songs in Netherlands, but were denied by authorities to shoot at a song at Keukenhof after a previous film crew had damaged the habitat.[5] Shankar did not want Vikram to reveal his look for the film to the public and despite Vikram's success at the National Film Awards, he was prohibited from meeting the media.[6] In October 2004, cinematographer Manikandan left the project citing date problems and was thus replaced by Ravi Varman.[7] A ten-day shoot was held in Mumbai for a song featuring Hindi actress Yana Gupta, with producers initially hiding her identity to create suspense.[8][9]


Produced on a budget of INR270 million (US$4.5 million),[10] the film was declared a commercial success, grossing INR570 million (US$9.5 million) from both Tamil and dubbed Telugu version and becoming the year's second highest grossing Tamil film.[11] It was funded by IDBI to the tune of INR85 million (US$1.4 million) and insured for INR290 million (US$4.8 million) to mitigate risk of failure. The producer was the sole distributor of the film. He recovered INR130 million (US$2.2 million) in advance from exhibitors as Minimum Guarantee before the completion of the project. By cutting off the middlemen thus, the profitability of the project was secured.

The film released with 110 screens in Andhra Pradesh[12] and in 35 screens across Kerala.[13] The film was simultaneously released in Tamil and dubbed into Telugu (as Aparachithudu). It was later dubbed into Hindi as Aparachit - The Stranger which made $500,000.[14] The film collected INR300 million (US$5.0 million) in Tamil Nadu, INR150 million (US$2.5 million) in Andhra Pradesh and INR55 million (US$920,000) in Kerala and the rest from other parts of India and overseas.


Soundtrack album by Harris Jayaraj
Released 2005
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Label Hit Musics
Harris Jayaraj chronology
Ullam Ketkumae

The soundtrack was composed by Harris Jayaraj.Upon release,the album received critical praise as well as commercial success.Due to its popularity, Harris received several awards including Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Music Director and Filmfare Award for Best Music Director.[15][16]

(Lyrics: Vairamuthu, Na. Muthukumar & Kapilan)
(Lyrics: Mehboob)
(Lyrics: Chandrabose & Bhuvanachandra)
"Oh Sukumari"
(Shankar Mahadevan & Harini)
"Oh Sukumari"
(Unnikrishnan & Harini)
"Oh Sukumari"
(Shankar Mahadevan & Harini)
"Kadhal Yanai"
(Nakul, Nelwyn & G. V. Prakash Kumar)
(Nakul & G. V. Prakash Kumar)
"Love Elephantla"
(Nakul, G. V. Prakash Kumar & Tippu)
"Kannum Kannum Nokia"
(Leslie Lewis, Andrea Jeremiah & Vasundhara Das)
"Gora Gora"
(Leslie Lewis & Vasundhara Das)
"Naaku Neeku Nokia"
(Kunal Ganjawala & Vasundhara Das)
"Iyengaaru Veetu"
(Hariharan & Harini)
"Iyengar Ghar ki"
(Hariharan & Harini)
"Jiyangaari Inti"
(K. J. Yesudas & Harini)
"Andang Kaka"
(KK, Jassie Gift, Shreya Ghoshal, Saindhavi)
"Chori hai"
(KK, Shreya Ghoshal)
(Jassie Gift, KK, Sujatha Mohan)
"Stranger in Black"
(Sunitha Sarathy & Chennai Chorale)
"Stranger in Black"
(Sunitha Sarathy & Chennai Chorale)
"Stranger in Black"
(Sunitha Sarathy & Chennai Chorale)
  • The song "Kannum Kannum Nokia" was shot in Kuala Lumpur Airport (KLIA) and Petronas Twin Towers.
  • The film has a sequence featuring the Thiruvaiyaar music festival. Well known exponents like Kunnakudi R Vaidhyanathan, Sudha Raghunathan and Unnikrishnan appear in the scene, which is a recreation of the real festival.


Anniyan received 8 out of 15 awards at the 2006 Filmfare Awards South, the most ever by any Tamil film.[17]

2006 Filmfare Awards South

2006 National Film Award

2006 Tamil Nadu State Film Awards


The film features comedy portions by Vivek regarding the anagrams of the Sanskrit words that denote the punishments. Even the titles shown in the beginning of the film slide with quicker animation of their anagrams. Another example is, during the intermission of the film, the word "TENSIONRISM" morphs into the word "INTERMISSION".

This film can be closely related to one of Shankar's previous features, Indian. Both movies have similar names in pronunciation, and both movies involve the main character rooting out the corrupt elements of India, due to corruption causing the death of the main character's close family member. The main character also gains popularity amongst the public, and shows one of his murders on live TV. In Indian, the ancient Varmam art was explored, while in this film, the texts from Garuda Puranam are emphasised for the punishments.


Influences from S. Shankar's other popular films like Gentleman and Indian have been noted. The use of the time-slice method in the film, as with The Matrix films and earlier used by Shankar in his film Mudhalvan/Nayak shot by cinematographer V.Manikandan proved popular with the audience. Shankar used 17 cameras for a special action sequence and imported fighters as well as martial artists from all over the state were used in the multi-opponent fight scene. The special effects were provided by Big Freeze, a department based in London. Art direction for the film was provided by Sabu Cyril. In this film, the hero suffers from multiple personality disorder which was inspired from the English movie Primal Fear and also inspired from the film Seven (film) in which a serial murder is committed based on their sins.


  1. ^ The mother of all biggies. The Hindu (2005-06-15)
  2. ^ Indian Film Industry | Film Industry of India | Indian Cinema. Retrieved on 5 February 2012.
  3. ^ `Anniyan` launched in style. (4 March 2004). Retrieved on 5 February 2012.
  4. ^ Vikram in Anniyan – Tamil Movie News. IndiaGlitz. Retrieved on 5 February 2012.
  5. ^ Shankar`s secret shoot!. (5 May 2004). Retrieved on 5 February 2012.
  6. ^ National award winner, Vikram is in a fix!. (16 August 2004). Retrieved on 5 February 2012.
  7. ^ Shankar replaces `Anniyan` cameraman. (15 October 2004). Retrieved on 5 February 2012.
  8. ^ `Anniyan` item number in Mumbai!. (18 December 2004). Retrieved on 5 February 2012.
  9. ^ Yana is `Anniyan` item girl!. (27 December 2004). Retrieved on 5 February 2012.
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^
  12. ^ Aparichithudu 50 days function
  13. ^ `Anniyan`-Facts and figures! -
  14. ^ "All India 2006 (Collections in Rs. Crore)". BoxOfficeIndia.Com. Archived from the original on 8 April 2007. Retrieved 20 April 2007. 
  15. ^ "TAMIL NADU STATE GOVERNMENT FILM AWARD YEAR 2005". Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  16. ^ "Tamil Nadu Government awards". Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  17. ^ `Anniyan` sweeps Filmfare Awards!. (10 September 2006). Retrieved on 5 February 2012.

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