Anti Indian – The death of a guy who converted to Christianity and was born to a Muslim father and a Hindu mother becomes a weapon in the hands of religious leaders and politicians, all of whom want to profit from it.
Anti Indian, a sociopolitical drama directed by Blue Shirt Maran, is a good debut.
YouTuber Blue Shirt C Elamaran is known for his caustic film reviews, so when he revealed that he was becoming a director, the knives were already out. But he succeeds in passing the test – if not with flying colours, then well. His Anti Indian is a brave film, especially for a first, that tackles difficult topics including religious rioting, government corruption, police abuse of power, and media sensationalism.
The film opens with the death of a painter, Baasha (Maran himself). His father, Ibrahim, was a Muslim, while his mother, Saroja (Vijaya Maami), was a Hindu. Things begin to look up as his family agrees to bury him in an Islamic manner. However, due to his parents’ interfaith marriage, local Muslim officials do not want his remains to be burned as per Islamic tradition. A local Hindu leader sees an opportunity and proposes that Baasha’s nephew, Ezhumalai (Jayaraj, impressive), cremate the body according to Hindu rites. However, the burial cemetery refuses to accept it since Baasha is a Muslim, according to official documents. And because Saroja has accepted Christianity, a preacher (Sinoba of Super Deluxe fame) wants the body to be buried according to Christian customs.
With a bye-election coming up in a few days, the Chief Minister (Radha Ravi), whose party is in trouble, is looking for a way to get the election cancelled, and an overzealous cop (Aadukalam Naren, who has a standout scene in the second half) suggests turning the issue of Maran’s last rites into a religious riot.
While Maran’s filmmaking is basic (though he does have a few spectacular images, such as the long drone shot that plays over the title, tracking the ambulance carrying Baasha’s lifeless remains), he excels with his writing, providing us with finely written situations with stinging language. He convincingly demonstrates how ordinary people do not think along religious lines unless they are compelled to by those with vested interests. The satire is spot on. However, there is a lack of delicacy in the emotional and serious sequences. Maran’s use of gaana to intercut many of the scenes doesn’t work as well as it should since it begins to feel like a tactic to extend the running length to two hours.
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