Yaar Yaar Sivam…Nee Naan Sivam…Anbe Sivam.
That even lobotomized dinosaurs once made dazzlingly beautiful movies is easily apparent after watching Anbe Sivam.
Featuring the dinosaur Kamal Haasan and the nai-kutty faced Madhavan in key roles, Anbe Sivam is that rare gem of a Tamil movie, the bewitching aberration that makes its welcome appearance in the cooum hellhole of Kollywood once in a decade if we are lucky.
The highlight of Anbe Sivam is of course Kamal Haasan’s electrifying performance and a moving story that rarely flags, both elements conspicuously absent in this dinosaur’s recent repelling freakshow Dasavatharam (if you are wondering what happened to Kamal Haasan between 2003, when Anbe Sivam was released, and 2008, when Dasavatharam debuted, take it from us – either this dinosaur pawned his brains in the interregnum or the noxious Cooum gases short-circuited the synapses in his brain).
Besides Kamal Haasan’s non pareil performance and a compelling tale, Anbe Sivam owes its well deserved reputation as one of the highpoints of Kamal’s looong career to a tight screenplay that treats its audience with respect and outstanding execution overall by director C.Sundar.
What’s not to like about Anbe Sivam?
Speak now or forever hold your tongue.
Acting, story, screenplay, music, decent photography, enough display of skin in the fair-skinned Kiran Rathod to keep our flagpoles up – Anbe Sivam has ’em all and more.
C.Sundar, Kamal, Madhavan, Nasser et al have brought us an all sizzle and all steak movie in Anbe Sivam.
Absolutely riveting, like few Tamil movies before or after, Anbe Sivam carefully builds scene-by-scene upon the chance encounter of two strangers whose paths cross when their Bhubaneswar-Chennai flight is cancelled – an union leader NallaÂ Sivam a.k.a. Nalla or Sivam (Kamal Haasan) and a querulous yuppie ad executive Anbarasu (Madhavan), who likes to be known as A.Arasu.
The hyperactive, suspicious, whining, snobbish, selfish, English-speaking ad executive Arasu stands in stark contrast to the gregarious, Tamil loving, helpful Sivam with the slow gait and a slower cadence, the limp and slow speech attributable to injuries sustained after a bus accident.
Much of the movie is narrated in flashback on a desolate railway station platform in Andhra Pradesh as the unlikely pair wait for the Coromandel Express to arrive and take them to Chennai.
The picture of the red-shirted, Marxist-leaning Kamal Haasan sitting on a bench on that deserted platform idly flinging stones into a puddle just before he takes us along on his journey into the past is one that’ll remain with us a long, long while.
As the movie tells us in flashback, Kamal Haasan was a labor leader Nalla Sivam who falls in love with the company owner’s pretty daughter Bala (Kiran Rathod).
The course of love never did run smooth and the violent opposition comes here in the form of Bala’s father Kandasami Padayachi, played as usual with elan by Nasser.
An average actress, Kiran Rathod is pretty but not dazzlingly pretty. She’s fair and she’s willing to show some skin – Tamil move fans seldom ask for more in their heroines.
Fortunately, the engrossing story and powerful performances by Kamal Haasan and Madhavan (but for stray scenes of overacting) compensate for any shortcomings in Anbe Sivam.
What would Kollywood be without those asinine fights that are a must to attract the acid freaks that make up much of the audience-base of Tamil movies.
So you have one absolutely nonsensical fight of Kamal Haasan routing a whole gang of thugs with only the humble umbrella for assistance even as his enemies fight with sickles and other weapons of individual destruction. But that’s a minor irritant in this gorgeous movie.
Mercifully, Anbe Sivam spares us from the second must-have disgusting element of Tamil movies – the pathologically pathetic Vadivelu or Vivek comedy track.
Just as Anbe Sivam is heading toward its denouement, director Sundar throws in a nice twist adding to the movie’s allure and raising its entertainment quotient manifold.
Now if only this dinosaur could fly again.
N.B.: After frequently encountering outright theft by Tamil film-makers, we’ve to add the caveat here that we haven’t checked whether Anbe Sivam is yet another instance of plagiarism but there’s some negative buzz on the Internet about this movie.
If you live in the U.S., Anbe Sivam can be rented from Netflix. Need we even say that we strongly recommend Anbe Sivam.