The latest release of Tamil Tanu Panu and Vijay Setupati, Anabel Setupati, started as a horror thriller but then cleverly changed all the tropes associated with the genre, bringing fantasy elements into the concept of reincarnation.
It focuses on several ghosts trapped in the palace waiting to be released. If it were a run-of-the-mill horror film about several ghosts fighting for revenge, that would be a tedious proposition. Fortunately, debutant director Deepak Sundarajan presents this film as a fantasy comedy with a solid cast that has performed well so far.
This story tells of a large palace belonging to King Veera Setupati (Vijay Setupati):
Who built it for his wife Annabelle (Taapsie Panu). Setupati brought in the best masons from different parts of the world to make this palace unique, but its fame attracted evil attention. Cut several years later. The palace is inhabited by people who have become ghosts after a curse prevented them from escaping.
Let’s make it very clear from the start that Annabel Setupati is not your typical pey pad. While the film contains ghosts, castles, and several comedians, it is not a horror-comedy like the Aranmanai franchise. Ghosts don’t want to scare the people who come in their place! The spirits of the place were people seeking salvation.
Conceptually, this is an exciting choice for a ghost film, and another Anabel Setupati has many great ideas on paper. An extraordinary palace built by experts from various continents. The spirit prepares the party. A protagonist who has stepped back into a past life but is not too worried.
An antagonist who is a meaningless ghost. The romance between two people who come from different cultures and speak different languages. The extravagant lifestyle of the past kings. High points that don’t include the clichéd idea of vengeance sightings.
The problem, however, is that all of this only remains interesting as an idea.
The film is filled with staged scenes that lack the rhythm that comedy requires. He relied solely on actors who were athletic enough to mock to poke fun at the scene.
Take a scene where Rajendra Prasad, who plays one of the thieves, walks through a room with a sword and thinks he is alone. Unfortunately, Chetan and Devadarshini, spirits, find themselves in the same room and see him with a sword.
Chetan, who was a royal during his life, decides to join him. But all Rajendra Prasad could see was the sword fighting him alone. He runs away in a panic, and Chetan, realizing that he has scared the boy, runs after him and apologizes for scaring him. But all the former could see was the sword chasing him, which only doubled his fear. It’s supposed to be cute on-screen right away but only looks childish when directed.
It might be an idea to target kids like the Muni franchise, which, despite its flaws, has intense melodrama to make sure adults get involved too. Unfortunately, most of the humour in this film is of this type. Here the director tries to keep things light, removing all the dramatic undertones so that even tragic moments don’t overwhelm us.
Things improved in the second half when Vijay Setupati and Taapsi did some famous romantic work.
Other than that, the actors are in good shape. Radikaka Saratkumar brought Yogi Babu’s channel to the stage, and it was fun to see veterans in hilarious roles.
Although he’s more entertaining in many films, Yogi Babu manages to make us laugh a few times with his single-line liner and colourful anchor cast from the supporting cast.
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The director cleverly uses these characters to add credence to the film by commenting on the tropes from horror films we encounter in our films. In the end, you will feel like you’ve never seen a movie where the actors and crew seem to enjoy it.