Raju Bhai emerges out of a sepia-tinted, smoky frame, a toothpick in his mouth, and strolls onto the screen with a swagger; in a beautifully framed introductory shot. And Santosh Sivan continues his excellent camerawork in Anjaan as well, adding inches to Suriya’s frame with his smart angles, and beautifully capturing the brightly-lit neon tinted dance bars, lofty buildings, the dingy chawls and gangsters in six-packs barbecuing on roof tops. The new Mumbai.
Director Lingusamy’s screenplay provides plenty of scope for cinematographer Santosh Sivan to indulge himself, and Sivan does to spectacular effect.
Krishna gets out of a train in Mumbai with a crutch, and hails a taxi. He’s in search of his lost twin, Raju Bhai, who we learn is a stylish gangster. The much loved Raju Bhai has a partner in crime, the equally dishy Chandru (Vidyut Jammwal). Together they rule over Mumbai, backed up by a gang of brawny men, and taking on the dreaded kingpins in the business with flair and precision.
Lingusamy invests a lot of time making everything look stylish – the stunts and the costumes; the gunshots and the dances; the men and the women.
Raju Bhai is your typical gangster with a heart of gold. Someone who kidnaps a girl and takes her back safely to her dad after his demands are met. When the girl (Samantha Ruth Prabhu) falls for him, he initially brushes her aside, but a few scenes later we see him blushing at himself in the mirror and a song follows.
But Anjaan is about Raju Bhai and Chandru – the brothers in arms. It’s a beautiful friendship, with both of them willing to risk their lives to save the other; but there is not much of a back-story to them. Jammwal, who played non-Tamil characters in his previous outings, grapples with an unfamiliar language here, and it shows, even if he does get it mostly right in a crucial scene or two.
Jammwal dances with stylish ease, though.
Manoj Bajpai as Imran Khan essays the weakly sketched antagonist. It is one of the weakest roles of Bajpai’s career.
But he’s an actor with calibre. And Imran Khan wears designer suits.
There is a feel of watching a Bollywood film – a long line-up of Hindi speaking actors fill in every frame, right from Jammwal to the reliable Dalip Tahil. Despite bringing together two immensely good looking actors on screen, there is hardly any chemistry between them, with Samantha Ruth Prabhu getting very limited screen time.
She makes the most of it as delectable eye-candy, nonetheless.
The background score is excruciating, and there is not a single memorable song in the film, including an underwhelming item number. The stunt sequences are brilliantly choreographed and shot. The film rides a lot on Raju Bhai, whose character is weakly etched, and whose background is barely known.
But Surya gives it his all, and is simply outstanding in the role.
Lingusamy had everything going in his favour- a terrific star cast, brilliant technicians and an interesting premise. A little more work on the screenplay – on the substance – could have made a lot of difference.
And there are no buts about it.
The Anjaan review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have an advertising relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.