Anbirkiniyal is a Tamil survival thriller film directed by Gokul and is a remake of the 2019 Malayalam film Helen. The film stars Keerthi Pandian, Arun Pandian and Praveen Raja in the lead roles.
Anbirkiniyal is a story of survival, although the start and end of the movie will completely catch you unaware. The movie starts off innocently enough, with our protagonist, Anbirkiniyal, portrayed as a chirpy and lively girl, someone who brings sunshine to everyone’s lives. She’s the carnival that everyone loves to visit and her manner and attitude are always positive and happy. She lives with her widowed father and constantly berates him for smoking, takes care of others around her and has a fun relationship with her boyfriend Charles.
The entire first half of Anbirkiniyal is mostly about how Anbu, as she is affectionately called by everyone, is the apple of everyone’s eyes. We see her in her day-to-day life and get to know her and be close to her life. This, obviously, makes for a good set-up for what’s to come, which you won’t be able to figure out in any way. We get to know that Anbu is desperately trying to go to Canada and earn more for her family since they have financial troubles, get to know why those financial troubles exist and understand her thinking and logic.
The background information that we get about Anbu and her life is actually the right amount and creates an attachment with the character that are the building blocks for what’s to come. To be honest, it actually makes the second half even more painful to watch.
To be honest, I expected Anbirkiniyal to take an entirely different route. With how the story was being set up, it felt like the movie was going towards the “traditional” girl-gets-raped/abducted angle. However, the story does not go that way, and I’m thankful. Mainstream media has made a joke of a topic that is extremely sensitive and important and made it trivial by bringing it forth without any weightage.
However, this movie is scarier solely because of how much this is a thing that can happen. Anbirkiniyal’s second half is gripping and the first half makes it all the more difficult. It’s difficult to see this lively girl go through what she does without any form of respite. You want to reach out and help her or tell the people searching for her where she is. However, you’re just allowed to sit and wait and hope that everything turns out ok.
There’s a lot of chills, drama and love to see in Anbirkiniyal and the father-daughter duo are to be thanked for it. The lead casting of Keerthi Pandian is the highlight of the movie. Pandian is great as the lively and happy Anbu and is a ball of energy and love. Additionally, Arun Pandian as her father is also a great addition and the two showcase some effortless chemistry that drives the film forward. At no point do any of these characters become boring or get on your nerves.
Summing up: Anbirkiniyal
The movie, much like the one that it is based on, gets it mostly right. Although survival dramas aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and I remember having an anxiety-filled time watching Trapped, this one provides enough drama to keep everything balanced. Keerthi Pandian’s determination in the second half and positivity in the first make you root for her and, thus, keeps you glued to the film. There are much anticipation and excitement which makes Anbirkiniyal is a must-watch in my eyes.
Anbirkiniyal is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
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