Known mostly for his over-the-top Rajnikant extravaganzas, Sivaji and Enthiran, S. Shankar has had a much longer career as director. He’s even strayed away from Tamil and made a Hindi film with Nayak, and he’s made plenty of bizarre Tamil films in the past too. One such is the 2005 film Anniyan, which I have watched and I did enjoy. It’s a slick thriller with darkness and grit and an extremely grey protagonist, and multi-personality disorder complications. In the middle of all this the film uses its ability to switch moods by inserting songs such as Iyengaaru veetu azhage into the proceedings to throw us off pleasantly.
While not being a violent masked vigilante the protagonist of Anniyan, played by Vikram is a very mellow and traditional chap steeped in tradition and shy romantic fantasies. This song is one such mental detour into the ultra traditional and literary, quite different from the ultra modern songs that populate most of the rest of the film.
Sadha, who plays the our hero’s love interest and Vikram do a wonderful job enacting this extremely traditional piece of music in an extra sugary way, without letting it ever slip completely into farce. A tough line to walk. The visuals are stunning and loud to say the least, with sets that would burn out even hardened Indian retinas if not for the extremely sophisticated lighting that shows enough while keeping sections in pleasing shadow and darkness. If for nothing else, this song is worth watching for the visual extravaganza alone.
The music by Harris Jayaraj is quite simply beautiful. It’s the right balance of classic Carnatic music with a lighter touch of popular music to make it acceptable to a wider audience. It’s a pleasure to hear the morsing, mridangam and veena played together in a film with so much lightness and finesse. These are not instruments you hear in popular music as often as you used to, having been replaced by more electronic things in many cases for popular music, but the physical instruments have a sonorous quality that is a welcome change.
Iyengaaru veetu azhage is obviously a romantic song, and most likely an extremely sugary one at that, but it really doesn’t matter what is being said. With visuals of such boldness and music so pleasant, I’ll listen to this regardless.