Blue Shirt Maran’s socio-political drama Anti Indian is a competent debut

Anti India Movie Review: YouTuber Blue Shirt C Elamaran is notorious for his scathing reviews of films, so the knives were already out when he announced that he was turning a filmmaker. But he manages to pass the test – if not in flying colours, at least in admirable fashion. His Anti Indian is an intrepid film, especially for a debut effort, that talks about sensitive issues like religious riots, political corruption, abuse of power by the police, and sensationalism by the media.

The film begins with the death of Baasha (Maran himself), a painter. His late father Ibrahim was a Muslim while his mother Saroja (Vijaya Maami) is a Hindu. Things start off fine when his family decides to cremate him the Islamic way. But given the inter-religious marriage of his parents, the local Muslim leaders do not want the body to be cremated as per Islamic customs. The local leader of a Hindu outfit sees a chance and suggests that Ezhumalai (Jayaraj, impressive), Baasha’s nephew, cremate the body according to Hindu customs. But at the burial ground, they refuse to allow it, because, as per official records, Baasha is a Muslim. And a pastor (Sinoba of Super Deluxe fame) wants the body to be buried as per Christian customs as Saroja has embraced their religion. With a bye-election a couple of days away, the Chief Minister (Radha Ravi), whose party is facing defeat, is looking for an opportunity to get the election cancelled and an over ambitious cop (Aadukalam Naren, who gets a standout scene in the latter half) suggests that they could turn the issue around Maran’s last rites into a religious riot.

While Maran’s filmmaking is functional (though he does have a couple of impressive shots, like the lengthy drone shot that plays over the title, tracking the ambulance carrying Baasha’s mortal remains), he impresses with the writing, giving us sharply written scenes with dialogues that sting. He effectively shows how the common folk do not think in terms of religious lines unless they are forced to do so by people with vested interests. The satire hits the mark. But the emotional moments and the serious scenes lack finesse. Maran’s use of inter-cutting many of the scenes with gaana doesn’t work as well as intended as after a point, it starts to feel like a way to stretch the running time to two hours.

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