What’s it all about?
Three friends (Jai, Sasikumar, Kanja Garuppu) are hot-headed youth in the town of Ananthapuram in the 1980s. They’re unemployed, and they get into trouble often due to their temparament. They fall for the plans of a politician (Samudrakani) who helped them with petty things in the past, and end up as murderers behind the bars. Jai also loves Tulasi (‘Colors’ Swathi), who’s the daughter of the politician’s brother. The love angle to the story adds a different twist in the trust that forms the basis of the friendship and their "job". They get out with the help of another prisoner and start avenging for the conspiracy played against them by Tulasi’s uncle and dad. What follows is a gory mix of trust and love and the otherwise.
Jai resembles the Tamil hero Vijay very much. He did his role actively and jovially, carrying the elements of love and vengeance the same vigor and fervor. Sasikumar, the debutant director of the film too, appears as one of the male leads and has less to emote but does his part appreciably. Third male lead Kanja Garuppu offers a little comedic relief in the first half and has more to do in the second half of the film. ‘Colors’ Swathi is cute and simple, but has a very small role on the whole, since the movie runs around the male characters mostly. The rest of the cast is as new to Telugu audience as the male leads, and everyone seems to have done justice to one’s part.
The story depicts the 1980s in a town setting. Choosing Ananthapuram as the title in Telugu is apt too, given the theme of the film that runs around political plots and ploys; it also has a cute love story within. However, the story treatment has a strong Tamil flavor and may not appeal to all sections of Telugu audience. (This film is the dubbed version of Subramaniapuram in Tamil.) The screenplay is choppy at times but is appreciable for a debutant screenplay-writer and director. The treatment makes the film quite authentic. With very careful work in the art department, costumes, and cinematography, together with tedious post-production work, the production team has taken every measure to make the film representative of the 1980s’ town setting. The different feel of the film, the music used, the lighting, the costumes, etc. take the audience to a different time.The hippie styles and beards, the attires, the town look, etc. are all mostly perfect. (Remember the getups of the male leads in Aakali Raajyam of 1980?) What’s a bit too much is the violence in the film, though it’s not the worst of the kind seen on the Telugu screen. The music department did an appreciable work too, and the song konTe chooputO… is very appealing even on the screen. A couple of other songs are okay too. However, the lyrics for the title song are not apt in Telugu – it’s supposed to be praising Ananthapuram, but in that process, there’s a comparison to several other places that have a name ending in "puram", including some villages and even "Hindupuram" which is in the district of Ananthapuram itself!
Ananthapuram 1980 is an appreciable effort by the whole team, the cast and crew included, and brings forth an authentic setting from the 1980s. How much the Telugu audience can embrace the Tamil-dubbed film is to be seen. But for its violence, it has all the ingredients to appeal to any audience but it’s not what Telugu audience can see regularly. At least those who like authentically made films can like the presentation.[telugucinema]