Terrorism; this subject finds its way into the heads of film makers every now and then, more often up north in Bollywood than in the south. But, every time a film deals effectively with this subject, it does get noticed, not only for the scope, depth and impact of the subject, but also for the sheer possibilities that it offers in terms of action and investigation. Anwar, originally a Malayalam film released in mid 2010, did get its fair share of attention in Kerala. Now, its dubbed version has hit screens in Tamil Nadu banking mainly on Prithviraj’s face value amongst the audiences and the presence of a few big character artistes from the Tamil industry.
Revealing too many details of the plot might spoil the actual thrills in knowing the motive and modus operandi which Anwar adopts. So, details about the actual story are restricted.
As expected, with a movie that revolves around terror machineries, there is a lot of intensity in the treatment. The director has been fully faithful to the subject, not wasting too much time or space on romance or comedy. But, in spite of this steadfastness, the intensity does not translate fully into gripping tension or suspense. There are moments where the director does have us guessing about the motives and machinations of some of the main characters, but it is not sustained for long. The weakest portion in the entire terror-ending drama is the climax. A major portion of the movie shows lots of intelligence and tact, but the climax fails to be a just culmination of all these put together, ending up as another bashing session (which is not too bad in itself) for the hero to flex his muscles. There are also some ends that lie loose after the film has ended. But, having said that all, the director needs to be commended for making a film on terrorism and not ending up on an almost anti-Islam or anti-Pakistan note (which is what mostly happens in terror based subjects). He has evened out things pretty well. The major drawback of the film however is an inherent one; that it was originally made in Malayalam. People speaking Tamil in Cochin does not come across as something very realistic or easily acceptable; but nothing can be done about it, this being a dubbed version. The music too fails to create any impact for presumably the same reason.
The film relies a lot on performances from two or three major characters. Prithviraj as Anwar shows that he has all the qualities that make a star. Tamil audiences who have not seen him as much of an action hero till now will change their opinion with Anwar. At the same time, he is also at ease in the few romantic scenes. And, he also has the intensity required for such a role; it seems to come naturally to him. Lal, as the terrorist kingpin operating out of Cochin is another pillar of the movie. He lays on another stamp of versatility with his portrayal. Others have small but significant parts, including Prakash Raj as the cop. He is complete with his portrayal as usual. Sampath, Saikumar and Geetha make small appearances, but leave behind an impression. Mamta Mohandas has an important character, but the footage given to her doesn’t really allow the creation of any big impact.
Technically, Anwar is a film that has a few trademarks of its director. Amal Neerad, former assistant to Ramgopal Verma (hence the influence), has shown a special liking for slow motion walk-ons of his heroes and even slower climax action sequences; both of which can be traced back to his previous movies. He continues them here too, with the generous addition of bottom angle shots. They do look good, but there can be too much of a good thing. Anal Arasu must be commended for some well choreographed action sequences.
Anwar stays faithful to its subject, maintains intensity but not thrills or suspense, gives some good action but fails in the climax and overall leaves you with a not too bad feeling. It would have looked better in Malayalam, but the dubbed version does feel a bit unauthentic.
Verdict: Terror; with a few errors!