In Which Annie Gives it Those Ones is the most interesting Indian film I have seen recently. The film imbues life, authenticity in its characters in a way that other films should too. The India in which this film was based, was a nation slowly growing into an economically viable country. Most people were trying to make their ends meet. On the contrary, the students of the National Institute of Architecture were a mostly well-read, English-speaking group of people.
The film begins with a shot of the college’s common room, where some students are spotted playing table tennis, while others are casually strumming guitar strings. The camera then snakes in through corridors and alleys and builds up the interesting world of a hostel. Anand Grover, our protagonist, better known as Annie, is a fifth-year student who has been failing for four years now. Still, his idealism doesn’t fade. Yamdoot, or Y.D. Billimoria is their principal who absolutely abhors Annie and hence makes up some reason to fail him every time. A personal trifle, which goes back many years, was motivating him to do so. Through Annie, we see the ugly bureaucracy which plagued national institutes in that era.
This film also focuses on characters apart from Annie. Mankind, Kasozi, Pappey, Rituraj: all have their own stories and different contexts. Throughout the film, different facets of student life are explored – the unspoken camaraderie, the absolute silliness of friendships and the overall warmth of those years of college life.
Through the characters of Radha and Annie, this film shows the political scenario prevalent in our country very aptly. The constant activism of Radha about women’s rights was in direct juxtaposition to Rituraj or Annie’s ignorant allyship. Although Rituraj was fairly evolved compared to his times, even he was perplexed to see Radha wear a hat with a saree during her final submission. The look in Radha’s eyes after hearing Rituraj’s disapproval speaks volumes. Radha, on the other hand, wanted to prove that her existence held value, despite the shortcomings of her sex that her peers and professors saw. The constant back and forth between her teachers and her is interesting to listen to. It feels almost cathartic to watch Radha do what is necessary as she makes her way through the rigid patriarchy.
However, this film doesn’t shy away from illustrating the privilege these characters are steeped in. Annie’s ideas of reversal of urban migration are at loggerheads with his sex-worker friend Bijli’s interest. Unlike him, she was happy to come to the city. We see how Annie’s thoughts of changing his country were well-intentioned, but weren’t exhaustively researched in any practical manner. Despite their privilege, they are not ignorant. They constantly wish to break through the moulds that were created to make their lives a cakewalk and wish to change the world in their ways.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.