Anbirkiniyal (2021) is a thriller film starring Arun Pandian and his daughter Keerthi Pandian. The story revolves around a loving father searching for his daughter who hasn’t returned home while the girl is stuck in a life-threatening situation. Keerthi Pandian carries the film and runs with it and I liked her performance and the film. It gets a Mangoidiots rating of ‘Ripe’ and is available on Amazon Prime Video.
The first twenty minutes was a familiar sequence of a bubbly young girl who loves her father a lot and care for the people around her, still, it felt heart-warming to watch that in these trying (pandemic) times. Then the unfortunate incident happens which gets Anbu (Keerthi Pandian) in trouble – not knowing her whereabouts her father and her friends are desperately searching for her. Reading this, you won’t be mistaken to think of the story to be a mix-match of the Korean hit film Searching (2018), a movie you shouldn’t miss, and, Amala Paul‘s Aadai (2019) – actually Anbirkiniyal (2021) is a remake of a popular Malayalam film Helen (2019) – the latter mentioned three films are available on Amazon Prime Video.
I grew up feeling impressed with Arun Pandian‘s performance in Oomai Vizhigal (1986), so I was happy to see him in an important role after a long time. While he scored below the mark, his daughter, the protagonist of the film Keerthi Pandian has hit the ball out of the park with her wonderful acting. For a film industry obsessed with fair skin and Hindi speaking actresses, Keerthi is a welcome change, she has the appearance of next door girl and carries herself confidently. While she had done her part in Thumba (2019) nicely, in this one, she has gone several levels up as an actor – in the second half of the film which was all about her trying to survive against odds she brings the situation alive and makes you root for her.
I could identify that the first song was filmed in Chennai’s Dakshina Chitra, and Anbu’s training class was in a building in G.N.Chetty Road, T.Nagar (Chennai). Are these important for the story? No, just felt like bragging on my identification skills!
Unlike the traditional Tamil film heroines who get portrayed as being less intelligent and helpless, Anbu is shown to be smart – she tries all the possible moves with the available resources around her to save herself. Anbu never gives up. I liked this attitude and kudos to Director Gokul, who had made movies like Kaashmora (2016) and Junga (2018) that I had seen apart from Rowthiram (2011) and Idharkuthane Aasaipattai Balakumara (2013).
The movie starts well and ends well too, but the middle portion felt stretched. The police sub-inspector character which was like an antagonist in the story was stale and predictable – it made the portions tiring for me to watch. In contrast to that, the Inspector character comes out kind and responsible. The roadblocks faced by Anbu or for her loved ones from tracing her felt like they are happening conveniently for suiting the narrative, but if you have the patience to get through this middle hump and overlook the shortcomings, the film turned out to be a lot enjoyable.