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Annaatthe

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Annaatthe
Annaatthe poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySiva
Written bySiva
Aadhi Narayana
Dialogue by
  • Siva
  • Savari Muthu
  • Antony Bhagyaraj
  • Chandran Pachaimuthu
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyVetri
Edited byRuben
Music byD. Imman
Production
company
Distributed byPVR Pictures
Red Giant Movies
Release date
  • 4 November 2021 (2021-11-04)
Running time
161 minutes[1]
CountryIndia
LanguageTamil
Box office239.21 crore[2]

Annaatthe (transl. Big brother) is an 2021 Indian Tamil-language action film[3] directed by Siva and produced by Kalanithi Maran under the banner of Sun Pictures. The film stars Rajinikanth, Khushbu, Meena, Nayanthara, Keerthy Suresh, Jagapathi Babu, Prakash Raj, and Soori. The music for the film is composed by D. Imman while cinematography and editing are performed by Vetri and Ruben respectively. The film revolves around the relationship of Kaalaiyan (Rajinikanth), a village president and his sister, Thanga Meenatchi (Keerthy Suresh).

The film was officially announced in October 2019, marking Rajinikanth's first collaboration with Siva. Principal photography for the film began on 11 December 2019, on the eve of the actor's birthday, and was completed within September 2021. The shooting process went on for one-and-a-half years, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in India and Rajinikanth's health issues in late-December 2020, delayed the film's production. The film was shot primarily in Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad, with few sequences shot at Chennai.

The film released on 4 November 2021, on the occasion of Diwali. The film received negative reviews from critics and audience with criticism aimed at the emotional weight, generic action sequences, outdated plot, bland narration, villains, melodrama, screenplay, runtime and dialogue but Rajnikanth's performance and score received praise.[4] The film was a commercial success and grossed 239.21 crore worldwide.[2]

Plot

Kaalaiyan is a village president who only bows to goodness and moral fairness. These ideals lead him to clash with Nattadurai, a rival village leader who choses to rule by fear. When Nattadurai tries to extort land from an old man, he hires Pattamal, a lawyer, to defend his case. Kaalaiyan exposes the truth to her, leading Pattamal to intentionally throw the case, After a few days, Pattammal and Kaalaiyaan fall in love. At a temple in a neighbouring village, Nattadurai tries to attack Kaalaiyaan with some of his men, but they all get thrashed. Nattadurai joins the fight himself, but has a change of heart when Kaalaiyan refuses to attack him in front of Nattadurai's family. Kalaiyan's world revolves around his sister, Thanga Meenatchi, whom he had to raise himself after their parents died. When she returns home after completing her education in the north, some members of their family feel that it's time to get Meenatchi married, and they convey the same to Kaalaiyaan. Unsure of the suggestion, he consults with his sister about the idea, and she tells him that it's his decision that matters the most to her.

Kaalaiyan initially has trouble finding a suitable groom. All the grooms are afraid of Kaalaiyan. At the same time Kaalaiyan's Cousin Sisters, Angayarkanni and Mangaiyarkarasi wants to marry their brothers to marry Thanga Meenakshi. They both initially wanted to marry Kaalaiyan. But he didn't accept to marry them. To not let the relation get married to their brothers. After a lot of drama and understanding, they allow Thanga Meenakshi to marry anyone of Kaalaiyan's choice. Finally he agrees to let Meenatchi marry Nattadurai's younger brother. The day of the wedding, Meenatchi goes missing, so Kaalaiyan dispatches men to search the entire countryside. They finally find Meenatchi on a train, trying to elope with a boy she met during her studies. Torn between his need to save his family's dignity and his love for his sister, Kaalaiyan finally allows Meenatchi to leave. An understanding Nattadurai peacefully leaves, and Kaalaiyan staves off demands for an honour killing from relatives. Meenatchi shifts to Kolkata with her husband, where she loses contact with Kaalaiyan. Worrying about her well-being, Kaalaiyan and Pattamal travel to Kolkata to find her. Kaalaiyan accidentally eavesdrops on Meenatchi, when he finds out that she is having serious troubles and can't bring herself to contact her brother unless she is happy and financially secure.

Kaalaiyan secretly follows Meenatchi to a bar where she meets a gangster who loaned her money to tell him that she can't pay him yet. When the gangster tries to assault her, Kaalaiyan grows enraged and beats up the man and his men. Kaalaiyan has Meenatchi moved to Pattamal's apartment, where he can watch over her while he tries to fix her problems. Meenatchi is threatened by thugs watching her through the window and falls ill. When Pattamal leaves to get her medicine, the thugs attack her. Kaalaiyan rescues her and interrogates the attackers, learning the truth of what happened to Meenatchi.

When she and her husband started business in Kolkata, they were approached by Manoj Parekar, a wealthy businessman and underworld boss. Manoj tells them that he has forced many companies to let him purchase half of their shares to change his black money to white money, and that he wants to do the same to Meenatchi's company. Meenatchi's husband refuses, but Manoj warns Meenatchi that she will soon be pleading at his feet to sign over the shares. Over the following weeks, Meenatchi's company is destroyed: their factory catches fire, they are forced to shut down, and Meenatchi's husband is arrested under trumped-up charges, being tortured in police custody. Meenatchi falls at Manoj's feet and pleads him to get her husband released, signing over her company. Manoj agrees, but immediately backs down from his promise, saying that Meenatchi's husband will never be free again. Meenatchi tries to free him through legal means, but Manoj has everyone who agreed to help her murdered.

Hearing this story, Kaalaiyan swears to destroy Manoj Parekar. Going by the name Annaatthe, Kaalaiyan and some of his village friends storm Manoj's office and issue him an ultimatum: by the end of the week, Manoj will be dead. Manoj tries to find Annaatthe, but in vain. Annaatthe tells Manoj and his gang members that unless they kill each other, Annaatthe will kill them himself. After escaping from his former subordinates, Manoj is cornered by Kaalaiyan, who forces him to sign his name on papers which says that he will return the companies he stole to their former owners. Kaalaiyan decides to spare Manoj's life, saying that death would be a mercy for him. Insulted, Manoj visits his estranged brother, Udhav Parekar, demanding that Udhav end "Annaatthe". After saying this, Manoj suicides. Udhav manages to track down Meenatchi and brings men to attack her, realising that Annatthe would surely arrive to protect her. Pattamal and Meenatchi manage to evade the attackers for some time, but are separated by a crowd. Kaalaiyaan arrives and clobbers all of Udhav's men and kills Udhav. He reveals himself to Meenatchi, who tearfully apologises for all the trouble she put her brother through.

Cast

Production

Development

In mid-October 2019, media reports claimed that Rajinikanth will be working with director Siva, after the release of Darbar (2020),[24][25] but it was later confirmed by Kalanithi Maran on 11 October 2019, whose production house Sun Pictures bankrolling the venture, tentatively titled the project as Thalaivar 168,[26] as it marks Rajinikanth's 168th film project.[27][28] Though composer D. Imman, who worked previously with the director in Viswasam (2019),[29] was reported to score music for the film,[30][31] his inclusion was confirmed by the producer in mid-November.[32][33] It was reported that the movie will be titled as Viyugam and Mannavan,[34][35] however the team denied the rumours.[36][37] The film's title Annatha was revealed on 24 February 2020, then the title had a slight change which named it Annaatthe.[38][39][40] Siva's usual technical crew, Vetri, Ruben, Milan and Dilip Subbarayan, who worked in the director's earlier films, excluding Subbarayan, as he worked with Siva only in Viswasam, were reported to be the film's cinematographer, editor, art director and stunt choreographer respectively.[41][42][43] Rajinikanth had penned some punch lines in his film.[44] Initially, the actor was reported to be paid ₹118 crore as his salary for the film, but Kalanithi Maran insisted him to increase the salary post the success of Darbar and was also ready to shelve the project if Rajinikanth had refused to do so.After much deliberation, Rajinikanth had reported to have agreed to increase his salary to ₹120 crore, including GST.

Casting

On 23 October 2019, Keerthy Suresh was signed in to act in a pivotal role.[45] Later comedian Soori, was reported to play another prominent role.[46] The inclusion of Soori and Suresh were confirmed by Sun Pictures on the mid-week of December 2019.[47][48] Keerthy Suresh was reported to essay the role of Rajinikanth's step sister.[49] In December 2019, the producers also confirmed that Meena and Khushbu,[50][51] will be the female leads for Rajinikanth in Thalaivar 168.[52] Prakash Raj and Sathish too joined the film's cast before the start of the shoot, with actor Vishwanth, who worked with Rajinikanth in Kabali (2016), too joined the cast.[53][54][19] On 31 January 2020, Sun Pictures later announced that Nayanthara will also be a part of the film's cast,[55] essaying the role of a lawyer in the film.[56][57][58] Actor Vela Ramamoorthy, too joined the cast, essaying a crucial role.[59] Telugu actor Gopichand, was reported to play the antagonist in the film,[60][61] but however the actor refuted such claims.[62][63] Jackie Shroff was hired to play the film's antagonist,[64] but was replaced by Jagapathi Babu in March 2021.[65] Abhimanyu Singh appeared in a pivotal role in August 2021.[66] It will also be the posthumous film of Thavasi, who earlier appeared in Varuthapadatha Valibar Sangam (2013) and Rajinimurugan (2015).[19]

Filming

Principal photography of the film was commenced on 11 December 2019, on the eve of actor Rajinikanth's birthday.[67] The film's cast and crew were present at the pooja ceremony held at the office of Sun TV Network in Chennai.[20] Filming began on 18 December 2019,[67] at Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad with a song shoot,[68][69] while Khushbu joined shooting for her portions, a few days after filming began.[70] Rajinikanth went to shoot for an episode of Man vs. Wild at the Bandipur forest in Karnataka, which resulted in delay of the film's shoot.[71] After the announcement of Nayanthara's inclusion, the actress joined the sets in February 2020.[72] The makers planned to shoot a few sequences in Kolkata and Pune after the completion of two schedules in Hyderabad, but dropped the idea due to the fear of COVID-19 pandemic and decided to continue the shoot at Hyderabad.[73][74] Filming was further halted due to the pandemic.[75]

It was reported that the team will shoot some sequences in Chennai after lockdown since the team will find it difficult to head to Hyderabad for the shoot.[76] After the government gave permissions to resume film and television production after the pandemic, Rajinikanth was reported to join the sets in October 2020.[77] However the makers postponed the film's shooting to November,[78] citing the team's safety.[79][80][81] In mid November 2020, the makers officially stated that the shooting will resume on 15 December 2020 with Rajinikanth joining the schedule,[82][83] and was expected to be completed within a single stretch in order to complete the shoot quickly.[84][85] Rajinikanth headed to Hyderabad on 14 December and started the shoot before the scheduled date,[86] with Nayanthara being present on the film's sets.[87][88] Sources claimed that Rajinikanth worked for more than fourteen hours in order to complete the film's shoot, before the actor's entry into politics.[89][90] But the film's shoot however was halted on 23 December 2020,[91] after eight crew members were diagnosed with COVID-19,[92] although Rajinikanth being tested negative,[93] the actor has undergone self-quarantine in Hyderabad.[94][95] However Rajinikanth was hospitalised on 25 December 2020, due to fluctuating blood pressure,[96][97] and was discharged on 27 December.[98][99]

Following Rajinikanth's health, the makers planned to resume shooting in Chennai on 15 March 2021,[100] with a single schedule being shot within 30 days.[101] After Tamil Nadu state legislative assembly elections, Rajinikanth headed to Hyderabad for the next schedule shoot in April 2021.[102] Shooting of the film happened at a brisk pace, despite night curfew and other restrictions.[103] The team shot a few stunt sequences featuring Rajinikanth and for the night sequences, the team sought permission from the government as well as Hyderabad police to shoot the night scenes.[103] The team ensured safety at the sets while filming at a brisk pace.[104] Nayanthara joined the film's team in late April 2021, and scenes featuring Rajinikanth and Nayanthara were shot within three days.[105] On 10 May 2021, it was announced that Rajinikanth had completed his portions for the film, except for few patchwork sequences.[106] The final schedule of the film took place at a private studio in Chennai in July 2021.[107] In August, except for minor portions the stunt sequences of the film had been wrapped up,[108] with Rajinikanth and Khushbu began dubbing for their portions.[109][110] With the final copy of the film being ready by September 2021,[111] the film was sent to Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for public viewing, where the film got U/A certificate from the Censor Board.[112][113] The film's final runtime is of 163 minutes,[114] with the first half consisting of 83 minutes and the duration of the second half is about 80 minutes.[115][116]

Music

The music for the film will be composed by D. Imman, collaborating with actor Rajinikanth for the first time, and featured lyrics written by Thamarai, Viveka, Yugabharathi, Arun Bharathi, Mani Amuthavan and Arivu.[32][41] Veteran singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, had recorded an introduction song (later deciphered as "Annaatthe Annaatthe") for Rajinikanth in the film,[117] which marks his last song before his death on 25 September 2020.[118][119][120] Imman said that the track was considered to be the "best-ever opening song" for Rajinikanth.[117][121] Other singers who crooned the songs from the music album were K.S. Chithra, Sid Sriram, Shreya Ghoshal, Anirudh Ravichander, Diwakar and the composer Imman himself.[122] The soundtrack was reported to feature about five songs and a theme music; totally six tracks in the soundtrack album, and has varied genres — opening song, melody, dance and festive numbers.[123] Deciding not to tie-up with music labels, Sun Pictures released the album through their own production house with lyric videos released on the official YouTube channel of Sun TV. The lyrics of all the songs were in Tamil texts instead of English lyrics.[124]

The opening track "Annaatthe Annaatthe" was the first to be released.[125] Considering it as a heartfelt tribute to the deceased singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Rajinikanth penned an emotional note about the singer, and finally saying that he will "live forever through his voice".[126] Another two singles — "Saara Kaatrae" and "Marudhaani" — were released on 6 and 11 October 2021, respectively.[127][128][129] The lyrical song "Vaa Saamy" was released on 25 October 2021,[130] along with the audio jukebox on YouTube.[131] The songs were later released through music streaming platforms. a week later, on 1 November 2021,[132][133] without any promotional event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.[130] The soundtrack, included the earlier released singles, gained positive response from audience and topped the charts online.[134][130]

Release

Theatrical

Initially Annaatthe was scheduled to release coinciding with the eve of Dusshera (25 October 2020).[135] Later, in May 2020, Sun Pictures announced that the movie will be scheduled to release during the occasion of Pongal (14 January 2021).[136][137][138] But the movie was postponed further citing the delay in filming due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[139] In January 2021, the producers announced that the film will be released on 4 November 2021, coinciding with Diwali festival.[140]

The film will release in over 2100 theatres across the world, with 900 theares belonging to India, due to Enemy movie Hugh demand.[141] and another 1193 screens in the overseas centres, a widest for a Tamil film after the COVID-19 lockdown.[142] Naman Ramachandran of Variety magazine reported that, the film will release on 677 screens in United States, 17 screens in Canada, 110 screens in Malaysia, 23 screens in Singapore, 35 screens in the United Kingdom, 43 screens across Europe, 85 screens jointly in Australia and New Zealand, 117 screens in the United Arab Emirates and 86 screens in Sri Lanka.[142][143] In the domestic regions, 600 screens were allotted by theatre owners across Tamil Nadu, for the film's release.[144] On 30 October 2021, the advanced bookings for the film began at limited screens in Tamil Nadu,[145][146] to tremendous response, despite the lack of promotional activities,[147] with the increase in seating capacity to 100% also piqued the interest of the audience to watch the film according to trade analysts.[144] The first show of the film will be scheduled at 4:00 AM on the day of the release.[148]

Prior to the theatrical release, Rajinikanth watched the first show of the film, with his daughter Soundarya Rajinikanth, grandsons Yathra and Linga.[149][150] Soundarya, in her newly launched social media platform Hoote, shared her review about the film, saying:[151]

"The people haven't still watched what you've done in Annaatthe Siva sir, but I've witnessed it. I came out and shook hands with you in tears after watching the movie. I told you that what you've done is not magic but an undescribable feeling. As an ardent fan of Thalaivar and as a daughter to my father, I am moved by the way you looked after him".[151]

Distribution

In mid-October 2021, the co-founder of Asian Cinemas, Narayandas K Narang and Daggubati Suresh Babu announced that they had acquired the theatrical rights in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana regions valued at 12 crore (US$1.6 million),[152] for the film.[153][154] Udhayanidhi Stalin's Red Giant Movies purchased the distribution rights of the film in Tamil Nadu.[155][156] UFO Moviez gained acquisition for the theatrical rights in North India, for the Tamil version of the film.[157] Qube Cinema acquired the theatrical rights in United States and Canada.[158] Ahead of the Indian theatrical release on 4 November 2021, Qube planned to release the film earlier on 3 November in over 700 screens across 56 locations, the highest for a Tamil film.[159][160] 4Seasons Creations bought the distribution rights of the film in Europe.[161]

Home media

Sun Pictures also gained acquisition for the non-theatrical rights with the television to Sun TV and streaming rights to Sun NXT belonging to Sun TV Network in all South-Indian languages, also tying with Netflix for a wide digital release.[116] The film then premiered on 25 November 2021 just 22 days after the theatrical release on both Sun NXT and Netflix.[162]

Reception

Critical response

The film received negative reviews from critics.[4]

Times of India gave the film 2 out of 5 writing "If Petta felt like a pastiche of Rajinikanth's films, Annaatthe seems like a collage made out of the weaker moments from director Siva's filmography. We have the villains from Siruthai, the 'saviour who cannot reveal his identity' angle from Veeram, the brother-sister sentiment from Vedalam, and the rural backdrop from Viswasam. The result is a movie whose emotional beats feel blatantly calculated and manipulative. Given that the sibling bond is its core, we expect scenes that show us why and how Kaalaiyan and Meenatchi are close. Instead, like in the recent Udanpirappe, characters only keep talking about the relationship! With this leading to an unaffecting tale, D Imman's use of a sentimental score hardly adds an emotional punch to the action scenes, which are shot in a generic manner."[163] Sify gave the film 2.5 out of 5 writing "The bottom line about Annaatthe is that, although the old Rajini formula is back, the entertainment we had witnessed in those days is missing in this 2021 film."[164] Mirchi9 gave the film 1.75 out of 5 writing "Overall, Peddanna is a very formulaic and routine mass sentiment fare that is predictable and outdated from the word go. The biggest of names go through the motions providing no fun and vigour. It will be a favour to every Superstar fan if they forget the movie exists."[165] Hindustan Times gave the film a negative review writing "Annaatthe is unarguably the weakest film in Siva’s filmography. For all those who complained Darbar was Rajinikanth’s lamest film in recent years, they’ll change their opinion as they step out of Annaatthe."[166]

Behindwoods gave the film 2.5 out of 5 writing "Overall, it's a template driven formulaic film that's high on brother-sister sentiment. One unique aspect is that the film doesn't want to entirely depend on Rajinikanth. The director wants the sentiment to work out, with Rajini being a medium for it. Whether it's successful or not is a question for another day. But for a festival film, this might be a good option to celebrate with your family members."[167] Moviecrow gave the film 2 out of 5 writing "Expected a cracker of a festival entertainer, but turns out as a disappointing formulaic outing majorly due to its bland storytelling."[168] Galatta Tamil gave the film 2.25 out of 5 writing "Weakly sketched villains and heavy melodrama make Annaatthe an average watch." India Today gave the film 2 out of 5 writing "Overall, Annaatthe did have the potential to be a moving family drama. However, it is the screenplay that tests everyone's patience."[169] The Quint wrote "Annaatthe has Rajinikanth in probably his worst film since Baba and in a performance that displays the weariness of a hitchhiker air dropped in the middle of a desert and left with an empty water bottle.[170]

The News Minute gave the film 1 out of 5 writing "Meena and Khushbu appear in a completely jarring comedy track, and it's sad to see the actors being reduced to this. Rajinikanth reels off punch dialogues faster than a jet plane but you can see that the man is tired. The affection you have for the actor makes you forgive the obvious stiffness in his body, the glaring age difference between him and the woman he's romancing, the pasty make-up and much else. But even his biggest fan would admit that this film is a colossal mess. I know you want to ask the question — is it worse than Lingaa, worse than Darbar? PACHAKILI, what do I tell you? Absolutely."[171] Indian express gave the film 1 out of 5 writing "Annaatthe features one of the biggest stars of India, and all it has to offer is a bunch of questionable wisdom on affection and relationships. There is something really wrong with what we consider big movies."[172] Bolywood life gave the film 2 out of 5 writing "Annaatthe is Rajinikanth's swag and all his swag, which coupled with the action scenes and background score, barely make a preachy, patriarchal, predictable long-drawn out, rehashed script barely watchable.[173] Gulf News gave the film 2.5 out of 5 writing "Yet, despite some original dialogues and Imman’s foot-tapping music, on the whole, ‘Annaatthe’ ends up being a sentimental drama that has very little to offer in terms of entertainment." NDTV gave the film 2 out of 5 while writing "The moniker is absolutely apt and not for him alone. What does the superstar do in this lumbering movie to help its stale cocktail of sentimentality, swag and silliness gather momentum? He parrots lines that we have heard before. That, in short, is Annaatthe: a moth-eaten mess whose mustiness even Rajinikanth at full tilt cannot mitigate."

Box office

The film grossed 70.19 crores worldwide on the first day [174] including 34.92 crores in Tamil Nadu topping Sarkar (32 crores) to become the highest-grossing film at the TN box office on day 1.[175] On the second day, the film grossed 42.63 crores with the total 2 day gross standing at 112.82 crores crossing the 100 crore mark.[176] On the third day, the film grossed 33.71 crores[177] with the 3 day gross standing at 146.53 crores.[citation needed] The film has reportedly grossed more than $600K within 3 days to emerge as the best Tamil movie of this year in USA.[178] On the fifth day the film grossed 11.85 crores with the total day 5 gross of the film being an aproximate 186.58 crores thereby crossing the 150 crore mark.[179] On the sixth day, the film grossed 9.50 crores and on the 7 day the film grossed 6.39 crores with the total worldwide collection being 202.47 crores.[180][181] The film collected 202.47 crores on week 1 and received 4.05 crores on the first day of the second week totalling up to 206.52 crores worldwide.[182] The film remained steady on day 10 grossing 4.90 crores bringing the total to 211.42 crores.[183]

On day 11, the film grossed 6.21 crores rounding up the total to 217.63 crores.[184] On the 12th day, the film grossed 7.14 crores with the worldwide collection being 224.77 crores.[185] On the 13th day, the film collected 1.02 crores bringing the total to 225.79 crores.[186] The film grossed 1.33 crores on the 14th day rounding the total worldwide collection to 227.12 crores.[187] In Tamil Nadu, the film grossed 140.60 crores.[187] On day 15, the film grossed 1.67 crores bringing the total worldwide collection to 228.79 crores.[188] The film grossed 1.56 crores on day 16 bringing the total collection to 230.35 crores.[189] On day 17, the film grossed 1.70 crores with the worldwide collection being an approximate 232.05 crores.[190]

The film grossed 2.62 crores on the 18th day bringing total to 234.67.[191] On the 19th day, the film grossed 3.54 crores with the worldwide collection being 238.21 crores.[192] The film grossed 57 lakhs on the 20th day bringing the total to 238.78 crores.[193] On the 21st day the film grossed 43 lakhs to bring the total to 239.21 crores.[194] The film also grossed 39 lakhs in Tamil Nadu thereby crossing the 150 crore mark in Tamil Nadu alone.[194]

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