I did not know that Anjathey was on a sleeper-hit path to critically acclaimed movie status. To me it is consistently very good without ever being great. It has its good moments but it has just too many moments. There are so many things thrown into the movie, all of which are good, that in effect one thing prevents the other from blossoming into greatness. I suspect the director has thrown almost every idea he ever had into this 3 hour marathon that he may not have any new ideas left for his next movie. Take the first opening frame for instance. It shows us the sky as if the camera has been placed on the ground and facing the sky. Its a grass/earthworm-looking-up-point-of-view shot. You see someone working out on a cross bar and another one asking him to move out of the way. The thing is this stands out. You do notice this. Very innovative and you wonder 'wow' - I may have never seen such an angle before (I think Agni Nakshathram had a similar frame). But you never see such stand out angles again in the movie. The rest of the movie is so different from this first shot that you wonder if the same technical people were involved.
There are three arcs to this movie. The first one is about two friends. One who performing well in life, hard working and is positioned to actually have a career. While the other is a bum who seems to be squandering his life so much that his father asks him to drink the urine of the other guy in order to mend his ways. The second arc is that of two friends. One who rejects an offer to be part of a dark underworld of kidnappers and rapists. While the other accepts the offer and moves into that world out of sheer career frustration. The final arc is about a man who learns the inner-working of the life of a police man. A realistic portrayal of how bad people really work and how the police can/cannot help people who are impacted by the kidnappers and rapists.
The three arcs are good enough to be a movie in its own right. The director has melded them into a single 3 hour story and done a fantastic job in bringing about reasonable cohesion to the narration. The sudden twist in the first arc, where the career fortunes of the bum and the hard worker take a massive turn, was very innovative. We are shown most of the story from the perspective of the bum. And this is interesting because we are forced to change our orientation towards 'who is the hero'. We are forced to piggy back on a hero who is not a 'hero' in a conventional sort of way. There are negatives to this movie too. The climax was long-drawn, unnecessary and was very manipulative with the involvement of "kuruvi" and a host of other stuff. I suppose it has been added to 'mass effect' and I think that is a sensible thing. And as mentioned before there is just too much stuff going on. More than necessary.
Naren, for 90% of the time, shows this i-am-shocked-out-of-my-wits look. Every frame has him giving a shocked and dazed semi-drunken look. It suits the story well because almost all the time he has to play a character who is out-of-depth with the situation. But given the 3 hour length and the sheer amount of time Naren has to look shocked it gets monotonous. Then there is this villain, curiously played by Prasanna, the Police Inspector, Mottai Boss, Kuruvi, Love-interest, Pandiarajan, hostages, parents of hostages. Its like Naren and thousand other characters. I liked Pandiarajan's role because for a while I did not even recognize that it was him. My god! have times changed for James Pandian? I thought Prasanna was unconvincing as the long-haired villain, his acting and his context came out as contrived. The head-scratching mannerism of that inspector was annoying. All in all the biggest downer was this "experimentation" with too many things and giving extra ordinary detail to every character you see on screen. Unfortunately that is also the movie biggest plus point. This movie is a good watch.
From a movie that deliberately does not fit into any one genre to a movie that really does not know what genre it wants to be. This is a very different revenge movie with a narrative that is unconventional. It looks poor and cheap though. Like they didn't have enough money to make the real movie so made a For-TV kind of movie. This movie also so despo'ly wants to be a comedy movie. Ends up clearly being a poor man's Michael Madana Kama Rajan. Parts of this movie has really sour MMKR elements. Saadhu Mirandaal is revenge story mixed with mistaken identity, chaos and comedy. Prasanna is impressive in this movie and gives out this 'i am paavam' thing throughout. The long-and-short: There are five aspects to this movie, two bank robbers, a minister whose money-in-bank is robbed, the bank manager who gets robbed, a hostage who is executed and some completely unrelated characters. The movie mixes and mashes all these elements to keep us entertained for 2 hours. Some parts of it are really funny but overall the movie is pretty mediocre.