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Modified On: 18 September 2021 | Reviewed By:

Annabelle Sethupathi tries to evoke curiosity in the viewer from the very first scene. A weird plot of a bunch of ghosts caught in a beautiful palace unfolds, without much logic why they are locked in there and cannot leave.

Annabelle Sethupathi

Director: Deepak Sundarajan | Music Director:

Annabelle Sethupathi Movie Poster

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Starring Vijay Sethupathi, Taapsee Pannu, Jagapathi Babu, Rajendra Prasad, Yogi Babu, and Radhika Sarathkumar  Annabelle Sethupathi is a horror fantasy film revolves around Raja Rathod who falls in love with Annabelle Sethupathi and builds a palace for his lady love in the 1940s. Fast forward to 2021, Rudra, a small-time burglar, gets into a palace full of ghosts. She also shares an uncanny resemblance to Annabelle. What follows is a comedy of errors, where all the ghosts in the house try to befriend Rudra. The ghosts in the place are actually ones looking for salvation. In fact, they are ghosts who do not want to scare away the people who enter their place!

At a conceptual level, this is an interesting take to have for a film with ghosts, and the rest of Annabelle Sethupathi, too, has many ideas that are good on paper. An extraordinary palace that has been built by experts from different continents. A ghost who prepares a feast. A protagonist who has past-life regressions, but isn’t too bothered by them. An antagonist who is a clueless ghost. A romance between two individuals who are from different cultures and speak different languages. The extravagant lifestyle of the kings of the yesteryears. A climax that doesn’t involve the clichéd ghost-getting-its-revenge idea.

Unfortunately, the problem here is that all these remain exciting only as ideas. The film is filled with flatly directed scenes that lack the rhythm that comedy needs. It relies solely on the actors, who are sporting enough to act ridiculously, to make the scenes funny. In one scene Rajendra Prasad, who plays one of the thieves, prances around a room with a sword thinking he is all alone. Unfortunately for him, Chetan and Devadarshini, who are ghosts, happen to be in the very same room, and seeing him with a sword, Chetan, who was royalty when he was alive, decides to join him. But all that Rajendra Prasad can see is a sword fighting him on its own. He runs away in panic, and Chetan, realising that he has scared the guy, runs after him, apologising for scaring him. But all that the former can see is a sword that's after him, which only doubles his fear. This is something that should have been instantly funny on screen, but going by the way it is directed, it only comes across as kiddish.

Much of the humour in the film is of this kind. Perhaps, the idea was to make the film appeal to kids. In trying to keep things light at all times, the director takes away every hint of drama, so even tragic moments do not affect us as they should.

Things get somewhat better in the second half, with Vijay Sethupathi and Taapsee making a broadly written romance work. Plus, the actors are in good form. Radikaa Sarathkumar gets to channel Yogi Babu in a scene and it is fun to see the veteran act in a comic role. While he has been funnier in many films, Yogi Babu manages to make us chuckle a few times with his one-liners and anchors the motley bunch of supporting actors. The director smartly uses this character to lend a self-aware vibe to the film, commenting on the horror movie tropes that we come across in our films. In the end, you feel like having watched a film in which the cast and crew seem to have had fun making it.

The film also releases in other languages including Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam. The movie is written and directed by Deepak Sundarrajan.

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