Ante Sundaraniki: Simplified Complication
Ante Sundaraniki Review
Star Cast: Nani, Nazriya, Naresh, Rohini, Nadiya, Azhagam Perumal and others
Music Composed by Vivek Sagar
Cinematography by Niketh Bommi
Edited by Raviteja Girijala
Written – Directed by Vivek Athreya
Sundar’s character in this movie tries to ask you for an hour of your time to narrate his story. Immediately, Harshavardhan & Anupama Parameshwaran tries to escape from him. Harshavardhan’s witty lines in those scenes are noteworthy. More on that a little bit later, but that aspect of Sundar’s character has been used by Vivek Athreya to narrate in very very very very detail the younger portions of the character. For the ending decision he makes, these portions should have been a build-up, rather than that, they end up being just character introduction jokes and pay-off jokes in the later parts of the story, still introduction. You can fall in love with any person but then staying in a relationship and continuing to be loved is always an issue. There will be loads of issues coming in between the couple, and people with different intentions come in between. The couples have to segway from these issues and establish a family. So, Sundar and Leela have their hands full with getting an acceptance from parents, and then something else strikes them.
Here, the director himself wrote a line, “Is Sundar worth for you to tell such a big lie?” The same question is only answered at the final moments. There is a way of establishing your hero’s or lead’s likeableness albeit the dis-likeability. Vivek Athreya concentrated on how to explain to everyone why Sundar is what Sundar is. But he did not establish really who Sundar is. Why he is so likable despite his lack of skills in work, despite his lies, despite his desperate ways to manipulate people? Leela comes across as a person who wants her name to be known and then chooses a profession like photography where she just stays behind and not forward. Most photographers’ names are not known to the world. The logic behind this is not explained properly. The logic behind Nani being selected as a model is also not explained. Even if we leave things like these as “creative liberties”, how can this movie be taken seriously like the ending portions? It is damn confusing to the core to get the thinking behind these character developments. Not suggesting that every writer has to follow some set principles or develop characters in one way only. It has to be logical at least to the world that we build up. The world that Vivek Athreya has written about is very realistic and authentic to large extent. But then these developments just don’t make any sense. Similarly, after coming out of a relationship with a “supposed cheater“, Nazriya willfully cheats her parents with a big lie that has more potential to be proven or caught in minutes. And then, she says, “We have to make this lie a truth“. Should we take them as their inner children who fell in love first, guiding them throughout? Does that mean that they never grew up? Does that also mean that they just not being able to come out of that young kid zone, who got or did not ever get what they wished for and are ready to do anything to change that? Does that mean they are being guided by those kids within them to be together? These kinds of thoughts, if executed well, would have led to the best possible creative write-up by a writer. But they end up being used as tools to excite the audience only with some creativity that lacks clarity in execution.
Similarly, If the director wanted to convey that falling in love has made them kids again, or when they are together they become those kids again, who met each other for the first time, the sequences needed more clarity. There is something in leaving few things for audiences to decode deliberately and there is something called not finding the right possible explanation to thought while it just happens to be so funny or exciting for us to explore it. The latter seems to be the intention as things haven’t been explored properly.
There is a film called, “Ju Laka Taka” (1989) with Rajendra Prasad, Chandramohan, and Kalpana in the lead roles. Neighbors and friends, start hating each other due to their religious differences. Their kids fall in love and they do everything in their power to make their parents accept their love, finally unable to do so, they fake suicide. Watch that film and you will find comedy being loud, over the top still the characters and their motivations seem to stick to that loud world. Here, there is a mix of subtlety and loudness. A refreshing change from old-school writing but then ideas don’t come out as fresh as they should be from that old school. Few things seem genuine and then many things come across as forced changes in the motivations of characters for the story to move exactly in that direction that the director wishes for it to move. When you hear Lokesh Kanagaraj or Sukumar or Vetrimaran interviews they talk about how the story motivated them to write about certain characters’ behavior. Because Kamal Haasan is a ghost, he behaves like that and “literally” becomes one too as he is “supposedly killed” by revolutionists. Such writing for a character and then giving it a motivation to come out of hibernation in a commercial movie is what we saw in Vikram. Here, the director has all the tools to play with for being commercial and genuine. Not comparing but trying to say how to integrate an idea into the screenplay from the start for us to really “get it”. Coming across as using something really creative to really being creative is the difference.
Now, Harshavardhan just stole the show with his wit. His lines came at the right time and coincided with the kind of frustration that one would feel at the time. Vivek Athreya came up with those or Harsha improvised, we cannot say but they are the portions that I really loved. Nazriya opened up a lot in this movie and it seems like we are going to witness something new from her, from here on. I have to comment on this for sure. Blind faith in the name of traditions is not nice. Humanity doesn’t need such faith just for the sake of it. I would respect those lines from Vivek Athreya and the writer for them. At the same time, had he tried to show that change in Naresh and Azhagam Perumal‘s characters, I would have been happier. A hint of change was shown but needed slightly more than that for the kind of thick skin they have shown that these two characters have.
Well, in performance wise Nani and Nazriya did their best but needed more support from writing. Rohini just showed why she is such a brilliant actor in the few scenes she got. The writing in those scenes needs to be appreciated. Even Azhagam Perumal scenes, in the end, have good mature writing. You don’t get that consistently and the director wants you to feel for Sundar and Leela, which is hard when you see them doing certain stuff. It comes across as a love story of selfish people than madly in love people doing desperate things. The difference in portraying that successfully is what makes this movie. Sadly, it just ended up aiming for “Premam”, “Bangalore Days” kind of feel and giving “Majnu” “Krishna Gadi Veera Prema Gaadha” where a lot is promised but nothing achieved. Two hoots to BGM of Vivek Sagar and visuals of Niketh Bommi. Don’t expect a crisp take on relationships as this is as force fit as frozen jelly offered in “bajji” style!
Ante Sundaraniki Review