Aneethi – Vasantha Balan returns to form with an emotional thriller
Shankar’s former associate Vasantha Balan has authentically captured the livelihood and pains of the lower middle class since his first hit ‘Veil’. In his latest offering ‘Injustice’ he has attempted to document injustice in the social system framed within a psychothriller and has succeeded to a large extent.
Thiru (Arjun Das) is a food delivery boy in Chennai who suffers from a form of OCD that drives him to kill most of the people he meets in his daily life. During one of his deliveries in an affluent neighborhood, he strikes up a friendship with Subbulakshmi (Dushara Vijayan), which turns into love and has a healing effect on him. However, Subbu is not what she seems and when the old matriarch (Shantha Dhananjeyan) of the rich house dies suddenly, tragedy strikes the lives of the two youngsters, completely destroying any semblance of hope in them. What happens next leads to a climax that emphasizes the filmmaker’s strong message.
Arjun Das, who is famous for his villainy in ‘Kaiti’ and ‘Vikram’, has played the lead in ‘Aneethi’ with a darker shade. He excels as Thiru, who expresses the anguish of his illness, slowly embraces love and finally explodes due to emotional stress. His final moments of transformation from a monster to a frail son is a testament to his talent. Dushara Vijayan once again plays a devious character, owning it with flawless histrionics. From a rich girl to a maid to a caring lover who betrays him and selfishly takes her chance, her character is very interesting. Kali Venkat gives another award-worthy performance as the innocent father of the protagonist who meets a tragic end. He nailed the Nellai accent this time and if there is one genius who deserves to be celebrated in today’s generation, it is him. T. Siva, Vanitha Vijayakumar, Shantha Dhananjayan, Shara and Arjun Chidambaram have portrayed various shades of conflict that serve the film well.
Coming to the specifics of ‘Injustice’, the opening scenes of Arjun Das pulling a bloody spade generate enough interest that his mental illness later sustains him. Questions of whether Subbu is an angel or a demon and what Thiru’s backstory will be keep the interest alive. When the old woman dies and the couple is forced to cover it up, things take a turn for the worse when the family arrives from abroad. Besides showing torture, the police station sequences also cause irreparable damage to the lovers’ relationship. The real cause of death is shown to be the pain of isolated parents, who seem to care for their children from abroad, but in reality are actually abandoned. The flashback sequence involving young Thiru, his father and the humiliation they suffer because of a piece of chocolate is heartbreaking. This not only justifies the hero’s character development and his actions, but also rewards the girl when she is forgiven in a similar situation.
After the interval there is a big drop in the scenes involving Aranthangi Nisha. The arrival of Vanitha Vijayakumar and Arjun Chidambaram has been over-dramatised, which overshadows the good work done before it. The ‘Knives Out’ inspired twist is not explored enough to make a significant impact on the script. The most notable of the conspiracies is his roommate and colleague, played by Bharani, who tries to unnecessarily show Thiru’s good side by causing danger. The pacing is uneven and lacks the high-quality visuals one would expect with the available equipment
GV Prakash Kumar’s songs are intertwined with the flow of the story, while he compliments the narration with the BGM as usual. The rest of the techniques are consistent with what was said. Vasantha Balan has planned his own comeback by producing the film with his friends. Vasantha Balan makes a strong comeback as a filmmaker with ‘Aneethi’. He has pitched the film as a psycho thriller, but has touched on various themes such as the exploits of food suppliers, the injustices of the rich and powerful and unfortunately scattered. But above all, he succeeds in expressing in a relatable way the murderous rage that the victims suppress within themselves, whether they break or not is in the hands of the society around them.
Verdict: Go for this emotionally charged multi-layered socio-psychological thriller