Updated: April 16, 2021 6:25:20 pm
It was no surprise that director Shankar announced a reboot of his film Anniyan in Hindi with actor Ranveer Singh earlier this week. The issues that he addressed in that film are relevant to date. If anything, the issues stemming from human negligence and lack of general public discipline have only grown worse. The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has shown us how public hygiene is directly connected to the progress of our country and the quality of our individual lives.
The cost of human negligence has been a pervasive theme of almost all of Shankar’s films. Some may argue that corruption had always been the central theme of the director’s oeuvre. It was the strong impression that was created by his early films. However, by the time Shankar made Anniyan, he must have realized the corruption is just a symptom of mankind’s worst disease: negligence.
The 2005 film revolved around a perfectionist named Ambi (Vikram). A small-time lawyer fighting pro bono cases for the underprivileged, he is unrelenting and uncompromising in his mission to rid the public of negligence. Over 15 years ago, Ambi had warned us of evils that would come out of our disregard for rules and collective well-being. Shankar seems determined to bring Ambi back in a new form and shape, so he could say, “I told you so.”
Here are the reasons why Anniyan is more relevant today than ever:
Never compromise on the quality of living
Why do you think society finds Ambi insufferable? It is because he never stops complaining about all things that are wrong around us. It seems he doesn’t enjoy doing it, but he would rather risk being disliked by others than suffer silently. He doesn’t adjust even though he is constantly badgered by everyone around him to learn to ‘blend in’. For example, other passengers in a train would not mind using an unclean toilet, swallowing a poorly cooked meal and don’t fuss over the non-functioning fans. Not Ambi. He won’t rest until he gets a satisfying service for his money. He knows that he deserves to be treated better. That is what annoys us about him. He refuses to accept mediocrity like everyone else.
Not all rules are meant to be broken:
Ambi is honest to a fault. And he believes rules bring order to our chaotic life and helps us function effectively. At least, it helps him that way. After he gets rejected by the love of life, Ambi decides to take his own life. But, he doesn’t go through with the decision, after realizing that death by suicide is against the law. Similarly during the pandemic, he would not have gone out without a mask or violated social distancing measures.
Never quit questioning
Just because Ambi religiously complies with the law, doesn’t make him compliant. He is very assertive in upholding the rules and regulation. He questions the authority when it oversteps and holds the powerful to account. For example, he sees a man misbehaving with his lady love in a crowded bus. Instead of taking the law into his own hands, he hands him over to the cops and files a case against the man in question. And when the cops beat the accused to teach a lesson for groping a woman, Ambi steps in. He tells the cop, “You have no rights to beat the accused.” And he turns to the man, “If he beats you, let me know, I will take his case.” What an exemplary citizen.
Everything in nature is interconnected
If the pandemic has proven anything, it is that earth is a single unit, in which everything is interconnected to everything else. A virus that originated in some corner of the earth, brought the entire world to a standstill. One person’s carelessness could endanger the lives of countless people. And Shankar would have highlighted how every action of human beings sets in motion a chain of events in Anniyan. You remember the series of incidents that led to the death of Ambi’s sister, right? Imagine, just one person, who contributed to creating the death trap, had followed rules and behaved responsibly, they would have broken the chain of events and Ambi would not have lost his sister. To err is human but negligence is a sin.
And above everything what makes Ambi an example to follow is his humanity. Disregard for the rights of others, and apathy to their sufferings are among the main causes for all our social evils. Just for a moment, if we pause to think how it feels to be the other person, we won’t be doing a lot of bitter things. It is a lack of humanity in a person, makes him vulnerable to greed, corruption, pride and all other vices. As matter of fact, spitting on roads is an obvious sign of inhumanity. It shows the complete disregard for the well-being of everyone in society.
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