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Anantham review: Fantastic ensemble cast headlines this binge-worthy web series

The eight-episode series is about different people, associated with the same house, Anantham 

3.5rating
  • S Subhakeerthana

Last Updated: 12.43 PM, Apr 22, 2022

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Anantham review: Fantastic ensemble cast headlines this binge-worthy web series

Anantham poster 

Story: What if the house were a witness to different kinds of emotions? One house. Many stories and emotions. That's what Anantham is all about. 

Review: The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mystery as it makes all things interesting. Perhaps, Anantham is something like that—a maze of conflicting ideologies, passions, values and desires. The web series chronicles the events that happen in the house between 1960 and 2015. The first episode gives us a glimpse into Prakash Raj's character, Venkatesan. He is independent; 75 and lives in a bungalow. Venkatesan wakes up; greets his wife's photo with a good morning. Sipping a hot filter coffee, he solves the crossword puzzle in a newspaper. He smiles a lot, laughs a lot and jokes a lot. He is grateful that he is alive. He seems a person with no regrets. He tells his cook what he wants for lunch. He enjoys a drink with his friends. Most important, he maintains a healthy distance from relatives. 

Prakash Raj's character, Venkatesan is not one-dimensional. He is real. And, reminds us of many men that we know in our lives. Prakash Raj incorporates subtle aggression, which is effectively employed, in the way he stares deeply into his wife’s eyes. He is not what he is. There's more to his character! Cut to Venkatesan's past. We are shown how he moves into Anantham, along with his wife, Maragadham (a gorgeous Samyuktha, who's naive and earnest). Aravinth Sundar plays the younger version of Prakash Raj. There is an innate tenderness and innocence in their relationship. Their chemistry is good. The story moves between the past and the present. The narration becomes Anantham's journey. It also becomes the journey of the characters.

Next, we are introduced to Venkatesan's writer-son Ananth (Sampath, who scores with his restrained performance), and the kind of relationship they both share. We get to know about Ananth's childhood, and a lot more. Anantham is a bundle of surprises. It makes us experience varied emotions that the house pretty much witnesses—happiness, sadness, gratitude, love, fear, rage, chaos, horror, and so on. Every frame intentionally shows the everchanging predictable nature of human beings. The meticulously-written characters with clear intent shine throughout. Not one character can be tagged as an extra. All of them have some purpose or the other so that you root for them. Anantham is never about just its lead pair. Priya fleshes out all her characters with detailing, giving each of them their own personalities. 

The women of Anantham, (including Amrutha Srinivasan, Vinothini Vaidyanathan) are well-rounded personalities. They do not give up easily or allow others to walk all over them. Even the docile wife of Prakash Raj's character is portrayed boldly. She speaks her mind. That's what happens when a woman makes a film. It brings a world of difference. Priya breathes resplendent life into every frame. In particular, don't miss episode 4! Some superb nuanced performances by Vinoth Kishan and Vivek Rajgopal. When was the last time in Tamil cinema, you saw a man experiencing what it is like to be touched by another man? Some moments are beautifully captured. It is not about the gender. It is about two men who are absolutely in love. The lightheadedness, the vulnerability, the butterflies in the stomach, the first flush of raw emotions! Why would your perspective change when the lovers are two men? What stops you from not resonating with these characters? Priya goes on to do what no other mainstream Tamil filmmaker has done—showing a gay couple in love, with so much dignity, authenticity and intensity. 

Verdict: There is a lot of heart in Anantham, though often it gets stuck in melodrama. Nevertheless, I recommend that you watch this thoughtful web series. 

(Anantham is streaming on Zee5)

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