Theatrical release poster
|Produced by||V. Ravichandran|
|Written by||Shankar (Story, Screenplay)
|Music by||Harris Jayaraj|
|Edited by||V. T. Vijayan|
|Distributed by||Oscar Films|
|Running time||181 minutes|
Anniyan (English: Outsider/Stranger) is a 2005 Indian Tamil vigilante-thriller film written and directed by Shankar and produced by V. Ravichandran. The film features Vikram as Ramanujam, a meek lawyer who suffers from multiple personality disorder and develops two distinct identities: Remo, a suave fashion model and Anniyan, a vigilante serial-killer. Sadha plays his love interest Nandhini, while Vivek and Prakash Raj appear in supporting roles. The film was released on 17 June 2005 to positive reviews from critics and proceeded to become commercially successful.
Hailing from an orthodox Iyengar family, Ramanujam alias Ambi is an honest, straight forward advocate. Shy and reticent by nature, he is unable to express his love for his neighbour Nandhini, an aspiring singer. A stickler for law, he earns the nickname 'Rules' amongst his colleagues. Unable to tolerate lawbreakers, he brings them to book whenever he comes across one. But, with the lack of circumstantial evidences favouring the accused, his efforts are always in vain.
While commuting to work on a typical day, Ambi encounters a series of unfortunate incidents: the brake cable of his moped fails almost killing him and the reseller blames the company of supplying faulty spares; a co-passenger rubs against Nandhini inappropriately and when Ambi directs the bus to the police station, everyone including her blame him of delaying them; a pedestrian meets with an accident and no one comes forward for help while a car owner turns him down to prevent his brand new car from getting soiled with blood, leaving the injured to succumb to death.
When Ambi is fretting in frustration after a really bad day, he receives a letter from someone named Anniyan who promises to punish the culprits. Referred to the website
www.anniyan.com, Ambi enters the details of the offenders and moves on with a glimmer of hope. Meanwhile, Ambi's cop-friend Chari finds about his love and helps him open up. Yet, Ambi messes up and proposes to Nandhini with his curriculum vitae (instead of a love letter), where he signs an undertaking to take care of her. Calling him a "rulebook" and "complain-box", she rejects him. Distraught, he attempts suicide but saves himself from committing a crime.
His frustrations manifests itself to solve his problems and creates two other identities within him: Remo and Anniyan. Remo is a suave fashion model who woos and wins over Nandhini; Anniyan is a grim reaper-themed serial killer who kills those accused of indifference towards social commitment. Violent and deranged, he makes a list of such people from his website database and kills them in succession, carrying out his executions as per punishments prescribed in Garuda Purana for every wrongdoing. The brother of an errant catering contractor Chockalingam, who was killed for supplying poor quality food, happens to be Prabhakar, a cop who is investigating the murders. Prabhakar does not mourn over the death as he wants to sustain his emotions which would give him the impetus to crack down on the murderer.
Meanwhile, still hopelessly in love, Ambi helps Nandhini land a chance to perform on stage. While purchasing a piece of land to be given as a dowry for her marriage, Nandhini attempts to register it for a lower price to minimise stamp duty and evade exorbitant taxes. Ambi who accompanies her, is perturbed by this, triggering the monster within. Anniyan emerges and chases down Nandhini who runs amok for protection. When he is about to kill her, an appalled Nandhini calls out for Ambi. With a need arising for both his personas simultaneously, a confusion sets in and Ambi collapses. Nandhini takes him to NIMHANS where he is diagnosed with multiple personality disorder. Through recovered-memory therapy, the psychiatrist uncovers his past and finds that he had witnessed the tragic death of his 8-year-old sister Vidya due to civic apathy. The psychiatrist also triggers Anniyan and Remo and finds out that while they are fully aware of Ambi's existence, albeit as a separate person, Ambi is completely oblivious to such personalities within him. The psychiatrist concludes that while Remo can disappear if Nandhini accepts Ambi's love, Anniyan will disappear only if India is free of its ills. Nandhini accepts Ambi and Remo disappears.
Revealing himself at Nehru Stadium, Anniyan 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 unmasks Anniyan and Ambi is arrested for investigation. 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, leaving them badly injured. Prabhakar turns up in a wheelchair for the trail, where Ambi is revealed to suffer from MPD. He is sentenced to psychological treatment after which, if he is cured, he will be released.
When he is released two years later, his puritan adherence to protocol has diminished. He marries Nandhini and while travelling on a train for honeymoon, he notices a man (originally responsible for his sister's death years ago) drinking amidst fellow passengers. Suffering a relapse, he transforms into Anniyan and throws him off the train killing him. However, he hides it from Nandhini, proving that instead of eradicating Anniyan, he has successfully blended his personalities into one.
- Vikram as Ramanujam aka Ambi / Remo / Anniyan
- Sada as Nandhini Krishna
- Vivek as Chaari
- Prakash Raj as Prabhakar
- Nedumudi Venu as Parthasarathy, Ambi's father
- Nassar as psychiatrist
- Cochin Haneefa as the selfish car owner
- Kalabhavan Mani as house owner
- Charle as a wastrel
- Shanmugarajan as Chockalingam
- Saurabh Shukla as brake cable company owner
- Yana Gupta (special appearance in the song "Kaadhal Yaanai")
- Manobala as the TTR
- Shanthi Williams as Susheela, Ambi's mother
- Neelu as Sabha manager
- Sriranjini as Nandhini's mother
- Vatsala Rajagopal as Ambi's grandma
- Mohan Vaidhya as Nandhini's father
- Hari Prashanth as young Ambi
- Divya Nagesh as Vidya, Ambi's sister
In early 2001, director Shankar had conceived a science fiction film titled Robot casting Kamal Haasan and Preity Zinta in the lead roles. But the production fell through due to various reasons: Haasan's unavailability of dates, creative differences with the actor and lack of funding for the project. Shankar moved on and made a coming of age film, Boys. Following the release of Boys in August 2003, Shankar began work on his next directorial venture titled Anniyan. It was hence mistaken to be Shankar's pet project Robot revived with a new title but was later proved untrue. The film deals with a person suffering with dissociative identity disorder, commonly known as "multiple personality disorder" (MPD) or "split personality syndrome". Coincidentally, another film titled Chandramukhi which released a couple months before Anniyan did, was also based on split personality. Describing the film as his 'dream project', Shankar revealed that it would be a fantasy thriller.
In an interview to The Hindu, Shankar disclosed, "I have travelled to many parts of the globe, especially the developed countries, and I am fascinated by the rapid strides that they have made in all fields. But back home, I am upset to see the neglect, poverty and the laid back approach of our youngsters. I often think that we are a lazy country. [...] My story is about a person who tries to bring (about) a change within our society. The issue that I am trying to solve is inherent weakness within our society and some motivation to move forward like other nations."
Cast and crew
By November 2003, it was confirmed that Vikram would be playing the lead role. On casting Vikram, Shankar remarked that he was the "life and soul of Anniyan". In December 2003, Trisha was speculated to play the female lead. Reportedly, Aishwarya Rai was approached to play the heroine. When she was too busy to accept, Shankar offered the role to Sadha, who was shooting for a Kannada film in Bangkok. Vivek, Prakash Raj and Nedumudi Venu play pivotal roles. Charle, Malayalam actors Kalabhavan Mani and V. M. C. Haneefa make guest appearances.
Child actor Hari Prashanth alias Viraj played the younger Vikram. When he came to the dubbing studio to voice his lines, he was accompanied by his father, singer-dubbing artiste S. N. Surendar. On Shankar's insistence, Surendar too lent his voice, dubbing for Nedumudi Venu. Actress Malavika Avinash was approached to play Vikram's mother; she rejected the offer stating "I am too young to do a screen mom and too old to be a heroine!" Mohan Vaidhya, a carnatic vocalist and part-time actor, played a supporting role of Sadha's father.
Manikandan, who had earlier worked with Shankar when he shot the music video for the song "Secret of Success" in Boys, was recruited to handle the camera. In October 2004, Manikandan walked out of the project citing date issues as the film went through multiple delays. Shankar replaced him with Ravi Varman who shot the remaining scenes. The scenes were edited by V. T. Vijayan and the film had dialogue written by writer Sujatha Rangarajan. While Sabu Cyril was the art director, the action sequences were choreographed by Peter Hein. Raju Sundaram, Kalyan and Ahmed Khan choreographed the dance sequences. The film was produced by Ravichandran Viswanathan (known as V. Ravichandran) under his 'Oscar Films'. Vikram's look in the film was created by make-up artiste Banu.
The film was officially launched on 4 March 2004 with a pooja at AVM Studios. As a sneak-peek, life sized promotional stills decorated the studio showing Vikram in three get-ups: a Voodoo hunter, a pious `sami', and a bubbling youth. It was therefore believed that Vikram would be playing a triple role. The film's tagline read 'He who comes from hell is not afraid of hot ashes.' The production began shortly afterwards in April 2004 and took 14 months to complete. Ironically, during the launch, Shankar had expressed hope of completing the film in six months and releasing the film for Deepavali 2004. The film was shot in Amsterdam, Malaysia, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Tenkasi, Thanjavur, Villupuram and Chennai.
Vikram grew long hair for his look and to maintain the continuity, he allotted 18 months and 190 days of his call sheet without accepting other offers. He did not want to reveal his look until the film was ready and hence avoided the media even after winning the National Film Award for Best Actor for the year 2003. In the pre-climax scene, when Vikram is held in custody and enquired by Prakash Raj, he keeps switching between the characters Ambi and Anniyan. Dubbed the "chameleon act" in the media, Vikram claims to have completed the sequence in a single take. The scene where Anniyan addresses the public was shot at a stadium in Hyderabad. For another scene, a chemical tube which shows how hot a person is, was brought from Malaysia.
In a fight sequence, Anniyan encounters about a hundred martial artists inside the fictional International Martial Arts School, Vodao. The stunt scene was shot at the JJ Indoor Stadium in Chennai over a period of 25 days. Peter Hein, the stunt choreographer, is a native of Vietnam. 127 professionally trained fighters were brought in from Vietnam for the shoot. During the rehearsals, the rope to which the stuntmen were tied and hung upside down, gave in. About a dozen stuntmen crashed down from the balcony injuring themselves badly. The action sequence was shot using 122 cameras for employing the time slice technique, seen earlier in Hollywood films like The Matrix (1999), to achieve the frozen-time effect. The special effects were provided by Big Freeze, London. Shankar had earlier toyed with the idea of time-slice and tried it while filming the song "Ale Ale" in his Boys. But instead of the usual 180° rotation, Anniyan had 270° rotation, a novelty.
The song "O Sukumari", picturised on the lead pair, was filmed in a large tulip garden in Keukenhof near Amsterdam, Netherlands. The song sequence was shot in May 2004 during the annual Netherlands International Flower Show called 'Floriade'. As part of their role, both Vikram and Vivek who appear in the song were required to wear a panjakkacham and angavastram leaving most of their upper body exposed to the cold. The team had initially hoped to film at two locations in Netherlands: Keukenhof and Vijfhuizen, but were denied permission by authorities as a previous film crew had damaged the habitat.
"Iyengaru Veetu", a semi-classical song, starts off with a Tyagaraja Aradhana. For filming the song sequence, a scene of Thyagaraja Utsavam was recreated. The Utsavam is an annual musical event held in Thiruvaiyaru in which exponents of carnatic music participate. The scene was conceived by violin maestro Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan, a regular participant at the actual event. Realistic sets were erected and leading carnatic vocalists Sudha Ragunathan, Sirkazhi G. Sivachidambaram, O. S. Arun, P. Unni Krishnan and instrumentalists such as violinist A. Kanyakumari and mridangam exponent Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman were recruited to add a touch of authenticity. The sequence was much talked about and was well appreciated. The actual song which follows later was picturised on a set erected at AVM Studios made to look like an old traditional Iyengar home in Thanjavur.
In December 2004, a ten day shoot was held in Mumbai for the item number "Kadhal Yaanai", featuring a top model whose identity was kept under wraps as a suspense to kindle curiosity. It was later revealed to be model turned actress Yana Gupta. The song was filmed in a set erected in a studio to resemble a famous night-spot in London. The song "Kannum Kannum Nokia" was filmed in Malaysia at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Petronas Towers. The shoot in the airport took place during the night. Ravi Varman, the cameraman, said in an interview that the song was shot like a commercial. The song was also filmed at the Nokia Headquarters in Espoo, Finland.
"Andangkaaka", a folk number rendered by Jassie Gift, was shot in a village near Sengottai. For filming the song, a huge set was erected to resemble a village. The sets were visualised and created by Sabu Cyril, the film's production designer. Sabu Cyril and Shankar adopted a village near Tenkasi and painted all the houses, roads, rocks and even a bridge in varied colours. They then hired hundreds of lorries and old model ambassador cars and painted faces on them. Hundreds of dancers joined the lead pair and the total cost of the song worked out to 1 crore. In all, 350 houses were painted.
During the course of the narrative, Ambi is referred to a website,
www.anniyan.com. The website takes visitors through the punishments that await sinners in hell. For designing the website, Shankar wanted to recreate hell and approached Tata Elxsi's Visual Computing Labs (VCL). Tata Elxsi has worked in Hollywood films like Spider-Man 3, Ghost Rider, Into the Blue etc. The team at VCL conceptualised and created a 'hell' in 3d animation. The punishments were taken from ancient scriptures. They also designed a Grim Reaper astride his bull who guides visitors through hell. Pankaj Khanpur, creative director of VCL said, "We tried to stay true to the Scriptures, while creating imagery that wasn’t too gory. It was an interesting project since we had to visualise it all without any reference point." The animation was done in a span of three months.
VCL also did the CGI for a cosmic zoom scene where the camera zooms from beyond the clouds to the Chennai city. Aerial views and paintings of the city were stitched together along with computer generated images (CGI) of clouds to create the long, one-piece camera zoom. The scene where Anniyan addresses a packed audience in Nehru Stadium was filmed with the space empty. The crowd was created through visual effects using crowd multiplication methods. Director L. I. Kannan, whose film with Vikram Karikalan has stalled, worked on the special effects.
By the time the production was nearing completion, the trade sources had estimated the film to cost around 12-15 crores; but, as it happens in films directed by Shankar, the budget overshot. Made at a cost of 26.38 crores, Anniyan was touted as the most expensive South Indian film to be ever made during the time of its release. It was also the first Tamil film and the first in South India to get institutional finance, a sum of 9.5 crores from IDBI. With the amount of hype the film generated in the media, theatres in Tamil Nadu eagerly came forward and offered hefty prices as Minimum Guarantee (MG). Funds amounting to 12 crores were gathered as MG and advance. Moreover, the producer had insured the film for 29.5 crores prior to its release. The rights for Aparichitudu, the Telugu-dubbed version, was bought by a producer for an all-time record price. Meanwhile, the film was sold in Kerala for 1.3 crores, which was again a record for a Tamil film there. The US rights was bagged by the distribution house Bharat Creations. With the theatrical rights and pre-release booking, the trade circuit predicted that the film would recover its cost within ten days of its release.
The plot is based on Garuda Purana, a Vaishnavite purana which speaks of life after death and punishments for wrongdoers. Shankar pointed out that he "worked tirelessly day and night and intense research was done with the help of a professor in department of Vaishnavism in Madras University." For filming scenes based on the punishments, buffaloes and snakes were transported in hundreds exclusively from Vellore and was shot for about three days. Some of the punishments features in the film were:
- Anthakoopam – The car owner who refused to help the accident victim is killed by driving a herd of buffaloes into stampeding him;
- Kumbipakam – The food contractor is killed by boiling him alive in an oil pot;
- Krimibhojanam – The owner of the brake cable company is punished by dumping leeches onto his body which sucks out his blood.
Following the release of the trailer on 7 May 2005, the film was believed to be inspired Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Upon the film release, it was found to be heavily inspired by the 1998 novel Tell Me Your Dreams by Sidney Sheldon.
The soundtrack album and background score were composed by Harris Jayaraj. The lyrics for the songs were written by Vairamuthu, Na. Muthukumar and Kabilan. The album marked Shankar's first collaboration with Harris Jayaraj; all his previous directorial ventures had A. R. Rahman composing the music. As Rahman was busy with his debut Broadway musical Bombay Dreams and had also signed up for another musical Lord of the Rings, Rahman and Shankar decided to part ways. In a chat with Shankar, Harris Jayaraj said "the music was a challenge because the film was a mix of genres – action, comedy, thriller. In essence, it was a cock-mocktail .." The album was released on 26 April 2005. Harris Jayaraj commenced the film's re-recording in April 2005 and took more than a month to complete, delaying the film's release.
The soundtrack has five songs set to tune by Harris Jayaraj apart from a theme music. The album marks the playback singing debut of Nakul, Andrea Jeremiah and Saindhavi. The first song to be composed was "O Sukumari", a semi-classical folk melody sung by Shankar Mahadevan and Harini. "Iyengaaru Veetu Azhage", written by Vairamuthu is a pure carnatic song sung by Hariharan and Harini. The track begins with "Jagadananda Karaka", one of the famous Pancharatna Kritis by Saint Tyagaraja. "Kadhal Yaanai", a peppy club song, was sung by G. V. Prakash Kumar and Nakul. Kumar, who would later turn a composer, was working as a keyboard programmer for Jayaraj when Shankar noticed him and made him sing. While Kumar had already sang a few songs as a kid under Rahman (his maternal uncle), this was his first song as an adult. Again, it was Shankar who recommended using Nakul's voice to Jayaraj. Nakul had earlier sung for the backing vocals of Shankar's Boys which also marked his acting debut.
The music of "Andangkaka", an aesthetic folk number, took three days to compose; the singers rehearsed for another five days to get the words right. The song was rendered by Jassie Gift, Shreya Ghoshal and Saindhavi. The song "Lajjavathiye" from the soundtrack of the Malayalam film 4 the People (2004) was composed and sung by Gift; it was a viral hit in Kerala. Jayaraj was impressed with him and made him sing, making it his first song in a Tamil film. The song also happens to be the Saindhavi's maiden attempt at playback singing.
|Soundtrack album by Harris Jayaraj|
|Released||26 April 2005|
|Harris Jayaraj chronology|
|1.||"O Sukumari"||Vairamuthu||Shankar Mahadevan, Harini||05:56|
|2.||"Iyengaaru Veetu"||Vairamuthu||Hariharan, Harini||06:10|
|3.||"Kadhal Yaanai"||Na. Muthukumar||Nakul, Melvin, G. V. Prakash Kumar||05:48|
|4.||"Kannum Kannum"||Kabilan||Leslie Lewis, Andrea Jeremiah, Vasundhara Das||05:25|
|5.||"Andangkaka"||Vairamuthu||Jassie Gift, Kay Kay, Shreya Ghoshal, Saindhavi||05:35|
|6.||"Stranger in Black (Theme)"||Febi, Nina||Sunitha Sarathy, Chennai Chorale||02:44|
|1.||"O Sukumari"||Bhuvanachandra||Shankar Mahadevan, Harini||05:56|
|2.||"Jiyangaari Inti"||Bhuvanachandra||K. J. Yesudas, Harini||06:14|
|3.||"Love Elephantla"||Chandrabose||Nakul, G. V. Prakash Kumar, Tippu||05:46|
|4.||"Naaku Neeku"||Chandrabose||Nakul, Vasundhara Das||05:25|
|5.||"Konda Kaki"||Bhuvanachandra||Jassie Gift, Kay Kay, Sujatha Mohan||05:37|
|6.||"Stranger in Black (Theme)"||Febi, Nina||Sunitha Sarathy, Chennai Chorale||02:44|
All lyrics written by Mehboob Kotwal.
|2.||"Iyengaru Ghar Ki"||Hariharan, Harini||06:10|
|3.||"Remo"||Nakul, G. V. Prakash Kumar||05:48|
|4.||"Gora Gora Aankh"||Leslie Lewis, Vasundhara Das||05:25|
|5.||"Chori Hai"||Kay Kay, Shreya Ghoshal||05:35|
|6.||"Stranger in Black (Theme)"||Sunitha Sarathy, Chennai Chorale||02:44|
The album earned mixed reviews from critics. T. Krithika Reddy of The Hindu remarked, "Harris has steered clear of dreary conventions in music making. Anniyan too proves his relentless quest for freshness." Sreedhar Pillai of The Hindu said that the audio was impressive, with a combination of peppy songs and semi-classical numbers that will appeal to all. Another music critic pointed out that songs in Shankar's films become a rage only after the release of the films, as his lavish picturisation enriches the music. Siddhu Warrier of Nowrunning.com wrote, "Hype often results in unrealistic expectations. But, here, Jayaraj is likely to be confronted with expectations that he would meet. [...] There is no question about this album – go get it!"
IndiaGlitz said in its review, "When a hit combination separates, the new one replacing it is always under extreme pressure. [...] And the truth of the matter is Harris passes the test with flying colors. Anniyan songs pack an all-hearted wallop. On first hearing, they pass muster. On the whole, Anniyan has both flavor and fervor. Now it remains to be seen how they measure up on screen." Comparing the music with those of Rahman's in Shankar's previous films, Krishnakumar of Rediff said, "Jayaraj doesn't disappoint, but while ARR wafted and lingered, Jayaraj explodes and fizzles away. Kumaari and Iyengar veetu azhage try to seep into your head and Randakka tempts you to tap your feet. But only momentarily. [...] you won't recollect them once the songs are over." The music was received well by the audience and the tracks "Kadhal Yaanai" and "Kannum Kannum" topped the charts.
The film cleared the censors without any cuts and was rated "U" (Universal) by the Central Board of Film Certification. While Shankar had hoped to release the film on Diwali 2004, there were numerous production delays which postponed the release date through early 2005. While production was wrapped up in March 2005, the re-recording which began in April took more time than anticipated lasting nearly 45 days with Harris Jeyaraj being blamed for further delays. After the film missed a few dates such as 20 May and 27, the film was finally scheduled for 10 June. But, Shankar released it a week later on 17 June as he considered 8 as his lucky number (1+7 yielding 8).
The film was dubbed into other South Indian languages and was released simultaneously in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. Besides, the film was also released in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Germany, Malaysia and Singapore. While the film was released with 404 prints in Tamil and Telugu alone, it was distributed in Kerala by Thameen. Later, the film was also dubbed and released into French by Paramount Pictures. In May 2006, the film was further dubbed and released in Hindi as Aparichit: The Stranger.
The film received mostly postive reviews from critics. Malathi Rangarajan of The Hindu said that the movie works as it melds an interesting screen line with racy action. She also noted that the story resembled Shankar's Indian (1996) a lot while also bearing semblance to his Gentleman (1993). She remarked that the story and screenplay deserved to be lauded for its "ingenious sparks in narration" but problems arose with respect to its plausibility. She then declared, " [...] some of the best camera shots, stunts and locations on a mind-boggling scale have been showcased. If you enjoy magnificence in cinema you will like this Anniyan." Krishnakumar wrote for Rediff that learning from the debacle of Boys, the director went back to his strength by taking a social theme, spicing it up and serving the perfect commercial fare. He added that in trying to explain multiple personality disorder in the simplest of terms, the director has only succeeded to a certain extent as a majority of viewers who are not that well informed might not even comprehend what is being said.
Labeling the film as a 'must see', a reviewer at Sify acclaimed that the film holds the viewers riveted with its racy narration, a relevant message backed with technical wizardry, never-seen before colourful song picturisation and particularly the performance of Vikram. Yet, he criticised that the film was too lengthy and the story too thin on logic. The editorial board at IndiaGlitz called the film 'breathtaking' and wrote, "Anniyan in one word is brilliant. A film that is big in conception, immaculate in execution and totally stunning in its entirety. Anniyan is almost a surreal and phantasmagoric dream woven on an ambitiously expanded canvas that has never before seen on Indian films. Its technical sorcery (yes, that's the word) just takes your breath away." S. Srinivasan of Nowrunning.com awarded the film 3 out of 5 stars and said that though was film was 'great' on most aspects, the only downer was that the story centered on erasing corruption in the society and multiple personality disorcer, both of which have been exploited extensively in Tamil films. He added that the film, which was fast paced, action packed and well packaged, might fail to impress but it does entertain and is a must watch.
Reviewing Aparichitudu, the Telugu version of the film, The Hindu said the it was a watchable movie. Regarding the Hindi version of the film, Raja Sen of Rediff lambasted the pathetic dubbing though saying that it was refreshing and watchable, despite boasting of enough masala to make the viewers sneeze. Rating the film 2.5 out of 5 stars, he declared, "Overall, Aparichit is a slickly made, well-paced actioner that works quite well, despite the dub. The film is engaging and crisply scripted, and the action is never too excessive, lightened by jokes and general tomfoolery that never offensively interrupts the actual plot."
With regards individual performances, Vikram's was unanimously lapped up by the critics. Malathi Rangarajan said, "It is another action-backed role that offers ample scope for Vikram, and the veteran keeps you spellbound throughout." Krishnakumar considered that though Vikram plays three distinct characters, Ambi was by far the best. He felt that the other two characterisation was over-the-top and was so only to establish a difference between the three. Sify said that the beauty of Anniyan lies in Vikram’s characters and that Anniyan truly belonged to vikram, without whom the film was unthinkable. It added, "He is superb and does the roles with conviction, suaveness and chill into the three characters of Ambi, Remo and Anniyan that he portrays. It is a role that could have been reduced to a caricature by a lesser actor." IndiaGlitz said that it was out and out a Vikram film and as "Ambi, as Remo and as Anniyan, this amazing actor is just that --- amazing." Apun Ka Choice noted that the film, which did not commend a thematic novelty, gave a different experience due to the standout performance of Vikram. It said, " The effortless ease with which he essays the three different characters is to be seen to be believed. The role could have collapsed in the hands of an actor of lesser calibre." S. Srinivasan rated Vikram's performance as 'excellent' highlighted the prison scene where he alters between his personalities in a sequence. Balaji Balasubramaniam lauded that Vikram, who got a dream role with enormous scope to perform, was upto the challenge. The Hindu remarked that Vikram stole the show while Raja Sen noted that if not for him, the film would have been a 'pretty ordinary actioner'. Sen further added, "The actor rightly overplays all three characters to near-perfection [...] and does magnificently, a Jim Carrey-esque chameleonic turn worth applauding.
While the film's technical expertise was universally acclaimed, their suitability in the film was questioned. Malathi Rangarajan wrote, "Sujatha's dialogue is an asset. Sabu Cyril's art contributes immensely to the film's richness. And capturing the opulence and intricacies are the cameras of S. Ravivarman and V. Manikandan.Peter Haynes' stunt choreography is a draw." Krishnakumar noted that Cyril's sets were grandiose and extravagant while Manikandan's camerawork was brilliant. Yet, he found that the stunts, though well choreographed, would have looked more in place in a supernatural film. S. Srinivasan felt that the film was technically brilliant and on par with Hollywood. Balaji Balasubramaniam panned the stunts and said they were disappointing and that the fight with martical arts students were 'plain ridiculous' and out of place. The Hindu said that the extravagant sets and choreography of action scenes are extraordinary.
In a seminar on revisiting psychiatric disorders which centered around the films Chandramukhi and Anniyan, a psychiatrist noted that there were many logical faults.
In its opening weekend, Anniyan grossed 5024063 (US$83,000) in Chennai alone, a box-office record. In the first week at Chennai, it grossed over 1 crore (US$170,000), with 27 lakh (US$45,000) from Sathyam Cinemas alone in the first week. It earned a nett of 41 lakh (US$68,000) in the first week at Coimbatore. After completing a 50-day run at Sathyam, it had "recorded the highest 50 days collection for a Tamil film from a single screen in the world".
The film received numerous awards and nominations. Although Vikram had hoped that the film would get him his second National Award, the film earned one only for its special effects. It also won 8 out of the total 15 awards awarded by the Filmfare for the best of Tamil cinema. In a chat with athlete Shiny Wilson, actor Jayaram remarked, "Anniyan was a runaway hit in Kerala. But if a Malayalam star had tried out an Anniyan-kind of role with a weird hairdo, it would have been a disaster!"
|National Film Awards||53rd National Film Awards||Best Special Effects||Tata Elxsi||Won|
|Filmfare Awards South||53rd Filmfare Awards South||Best Film||Anniyan||Won|
|Best Art Director||Sabu Cyril||Won|
|Best Music Director||Harris Jayaraj||Won|
|Best Action Director||Peter Hein||Won|
|Best Cinematographer||Ravi Varman, V. Manikandan||Won|
|Tamil Nadu State Film Awards||Tamil Nadu State Film Award – 2005||Best Film||Anniyan||Won
|Best Villain||Prakash Raj||Won|
|Best Music Director||Harris Jayaraj||Won
(shared with Ghajini)
|Best Male Dubbing Artist||S. N. Surendar||Won|
|Film Fans' Association Award||55th Annual Film Fans' Association Award
Cine bests of 2005
|Best Music Director||Harris Jayaraj||Won|
|Best Cinematographer||Ravi Varman||Won|
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- Official website
- Anniyan at the Internet Movie Database
- Anniyan at Bollywood Hungama
- Anniyan at Rotten Tomatoes