Director: G. Srinivasan
Cast: Vijay Antony, Diana Champika, Mahima, Jewel Mary and Kaali Venkat
If you’re a fan of the ‘90s family drama with heavy action, then Annadurai might work for you very well, even though you walk out with a feeling of watching similar films over the years. Nothing about Annadurai is bad because we’ve seen worse in Tamil filmdom. However, Annadurai offers nothing new or dramatically different and even the drama which was said to be the high point feels outdated but does leave an impact, thanks to Vijay Antony who shines in dual roles, making this familiar family drama work to a large extent.
Vijay Antony plays twin brothers Annadurai and Thambidurai, and he owns both the roles and delivers strong performances. As Annadurai, he maintains a stone-faced expression throughout as he’s mourning the death of the girl he was about to marry. As Thambidurai, he’s aspirational and works as a PT teacher in a school. In these twin-based stories, there’s always room for mistaken identity and we get that angle in Annadurai, and it even leads to a friction in the relationship of the brothers.
Srinivasan’s story is archaic but his treatment is what saves the film from turning into an unbearable emotional drama. Here, the emotions work and the drama clicks, striking a chord within.
In the opening sequence, we witness Annadurai save a girl from a gang rape. In another hero-centric film, it would have been a silly introduction scene but here it works quite well in the film’s favour. In another scene, when Annadurai sees a few school kids drink in a bar, he almost gives them a good beating. These scenes in another film would’ve felt so artificial but not in Annadurai, thanks to Vijay Antony’s non-heroic image.