We often get to hear honest confessions by actors in interviews, about certain choices made in their careers. At times, they admit having agreed to do a film for just the financials involved or for obliging a long-time friend to maintain a valuable relationship. Though such choices work for the actors differently, they at times turn out to be a painful experience for the viewers, having no merit in their presentation.
Unfortunately, Annabelle Sethupathi (titled Annabelle Rathore in Hindi) is one of those poorly conceived films that hugely disappoint and fail to deliver despite having all the grandeur in its presentation based on a potential plot. Perhaps both Vijay Sethupathi and Taapsee Pannu would express their regret for doing the film a few years later in their interviews. Projected as a horror-comedy, it is neither scary nor hilarious, betraying both the genres. On the contrary, it is the short romance section of the film that thankfully works, offering some relief in the otherwise tedious watch.
Directed by Deepak Sundarrajan, the biggest achievement of the project is it features Vijay Sethupathi, who ironically enters post one hour into the film, playing a century-old King in the new millennium style. Almost sleepwalking his limited scenes (in a special appearance kind of role), he never gets into the character and keeps enacting the period drama as the new-age Vijay Sethupathi. Playing his love interest, Taapsee performs in a similar casual manner, contributing almost nothing except looking gorgeous in the romantic sequences. She probably signed the project just because of Vijay Sethupathi.
Revolving around a family of thieves brought to a haunted royal palace occupied by a group of ghosts for many decades, the film strongly makes you recall the Bengali film, Bhooter Bhabishyat (2012), based on a similar theme. Interestingly, the Bengali hit was also remade in Hindi as Gang of Ghosts (2014) — another terrible remake that miserably failed at the box office.
In short, Annabelle Sethupathi tries hard to entertain with loud theatrical acts and forced comical background score, following the typical pattern seen in Punjabi comedy films. But nothing works as the project also appears to be dated in its writing and presentation, offering the same old repetitive content. However, it successfully delivers the scares, when the makers courageously announce its part two in the end, confidently ignoring the audience response.
Title: Annabelle Sethupathi (Tamil)
Director: Deepak Sundarrajan
Cast: Vijay Sethupathi, Taapsee Pannu, Yogi Babu, Devadarshini, Jagapathi Babu, others
Platform: Disney+ Hotstar
Rating: 1.5 star
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