Ananthapuram is a low-cost dubbed version of a Tamil hit Subramaniapuram. By low cost, we mean low cost - the only way they could have cut dubbing costs any further is by using the same voice for all characters, and we are not even sure they didn't consider that. In what is a first, even the end-credits of this one appear in Tamil.
There are several reasons Ananthapuram is a disastrous movie to sit through, and we at fullhyd.com are not allowed to give out so many reasons for a single movie since it violates some monopoly laws. Not the least of the reasons is that this is a film set in the rural Tamil Nadu of 1980 where you can see just about every man in a lungi with his under-shorts peeping out. Yes, we should have broken that news in 3 sentences, with pauses between them.
Now it is not difficult to imagine a Telugu movie set in 1980 in interior Andhra becoming a hit in AP in 2009, and that would partly be because of the identification of the audiences with their culture and their roots. Which is why this one might have worked in Tamil Nadu. In AP - or anywhere else - that would all be mostly jarring visuals, and sure enough, this one reminds you of those Sunday afternoon regional films shown on Doordarshan in the '80s. Those kinds of movies have their audiences at the Hyderabad Film Club weekly screenings, not at a multiplex or RTC X Roads.
Then, the story itself is highly overrated. This is no thriller or romance - it's a tale of 3 semi-exciting villians with few redeeming qualities who live by the sword and die by the sword, a tale that Ram Gopal Varma has narrated with much more panache, detail and ersatz a plethora of times. And it's s-l-o-w - nothing seems to happen in the first half, and you don't care if anything even happens in the second. And no, Swati, so in-your-face in all the promos, hardly has much to do.
Brahma (Sasi), Sankaram (Jai) and Kasi (Ganja Karuppu) are 3 semi-literate friends, boors, crooks serving as toadies to Somasekharam, an ex-councillor whose political career seems to have stalled and who is taking the loss of power extremely hard. Somasekharam's brother Ranganna (Samudhirakani) cons the trio through sentimental lines, into agreeing to murder the former's political opponent.
After the murder, the three realize that they were used, and that Somasekharam and Ranganna are doing nothing to get them out of jail. They get out on bail with the help of another criminal who gets them to commit more murders in return. And soon the vicious web has them firmly in its grip, bringing in its wake heartbreak for Sankaram who is in love with Tulasi (Swati), and the pain of childloss for his mother.
If this film did work in TN as claimed, it would be because it's a movie different from the mainstream ones (i. e. its authentic retro setting), and not because it scores high on innovativeness, thrills or any technical aspects. There's a strong undercurrent of a documentary in the first half, a strong undercurrent of a tragedy in the second half, and a strong undercurrent of boredom all through.
The story has apparently been cobbled together from a real-life tale, and there doesn't appear to be anything so remarkable about that tale in the first place that a whole movie should be made out of it. The performances are okay, but like we said, the biggest problem is extreme Tamil nativity. For most local audiences, it's almost embarrassing to be caught in a movie like this.
Stay away from Ananthapuram - given the effort they've put into dubbing, you are little more to them than an extra currency note, anyway.