Anniyan and the Chaos Theory

It’s interesting to read how Writer Sujatha relates Edward Lorenz‘s Chaos Theory to Anniyan‘s premise. Here’s a small example to Chaos Theory known as Butterfly Effect, huge volumes of literature is available on the net. This is the same as what Sujatha’s points out in his column.

The flapping of a single butterfly’s wing today produces a tiny change in the state of the atmosphere. Over a period of time, what the atmosphere actually does diverges from what it would have done. So, in a month’s time, a tornado that would have devastated the Indonesian coast doesn’t happen. Or maybe one that wasn’t going to happen, does. (Ian Stewart, Does God Play Dice? The Mathematics of Chaos, pg. 141). As given above, the chaos theory is also known as sensitive dependence on initial conditions. This small change in the initial conditions might/can lead to a drastic difference in the final outcome.

Sujatha gives a relatable example in Katrathum Petrathum and establishes the base fact of Chaos Theory. He also says the premise of Shankar’s Anniyan is based on this Chaos Theory and it says that such very minute carelessness also should never occur. There you go. That triggers my curiosity even more in Anniyan. Should it be probably because of this Chaos Theory, Anniyan is insured for 29 crores, trying to avoid even the smallest mishap in the box-office.


  1. One half of me believes (after the promos and all) that Anniyan is going to be a sci-fi movie. The other half wonders how the 21G – Vikram bus sequence, which was shot outside my home is going to fit in a sci-fi film.

  2. Come to think of it, may be chaos theory has solid base on Issac Assimov’s psychohistory phenomenon, (or vice-versa 😉 ) where in he says if there are too many independent variables, predicting something that’s about to happen in the future becomes almost impossible.

  3. Chaos theory may be science but in the hands of fiction writers it just becomes josiyam. The fluttering of a butterfly’s wings can affect the butterfly’s life but can it affect my life through the atmosphere? This is just like saying the alignment of stars (the light we see is light from a long time back) affects every aspect of our today. The effects of many events amplify over time, but many others also diminsh into nothing. Assimov call such timeline-based predictions as “Pscyhohistory” in his award winning “Foundation” series. This is science fiction at its most logical.
    So “psychohistory” analysis for Anniyan:
    +ve 1) An insurance company is willing to insure it (could it then be that they have modeled the movie on an international – not necessarily Hollywood – hit) .
    +ve 2) Shankar and Vikram. Both are mostly successful & trusted by the audience (v. imp.)and working together for the first time.
    +ve 3) Music – music in Tam. movies is directly proportional to money spent on music director. The opposite doesn’t always hold.
    -ve 1) Only one I can think of with information that I have-Sujatha. He is a great writer if his characters stay on the ground, but his analytical mind is a little out of date.
    So as long as the story manages to be reasonably original to Tamil but not bizarre (like that Kamalahassan one…) it is going to be a huge hit.

  4. Kirthika – Thats where I think Shankar tries to bridge the future and the present. Hey hey thats my silly prediction/imagination. Chaos Theory have been told by differnt people differntly. The genius Asimov has told it in his way. But I think they essentially hint at the same thing.

    Gnanamani, Thinking a little deeper, we can assosiate everything to chaos theory and thats the flexibility it provides.

    Ashok, If your -ve point was just a rig, it looks fine. But seriosuly thinking, Sujatha does elevate the standards of the movie he work in. It’s true. Else would you think Mani and Shankar would stand for him. He does take the movie to a different height with his amazing experience in creative writing.

  5. Adu thane parthen,

    Ennada lazy geek innum Sujatha + Shankar Annian Matter patti Ezhuthama irukaneenu?

    Seena Thana

  6. This is for Ashok. I don’t want to get too technical- but then, to explain something as scientific as the chaos theory, the butterfly effect alone won’t suffice. This is what I relate chaos theory to: There’s a phenomenon called kinetic theory of gases. Where in each gas molecule in space can have independent motion. To predict the behaviour of gases, some constraint has to be placed. i.e. it is impossible to predict how a gas behaves, if they are to simultaneously move (that too independently). Small little things, these gas molecules (like butterfly wings) and too many in a given space (similar to butterfly population) Yet, if I am to consider each and every single motion of a particular molecule (butterfly), think of how many equations I have to solve. Assimov applies this idea to human minds and the future of the world.

  7. Krithika, yes I agree there is more to chaos theory but I am not sold on this butterfly effect thing. Just because there are more equations to solve doesn’t mean the answer will be meaningful. Glad to note you are also a fan of Assimov’s Foundation series.
    Lazygeek, I think the release of the movie “Anniyan” will prove one us right. If it is going to be a relatively original science fiction story from Sujatha the movie will flop. As for old movies the movies the might best suit Vikram is Harrison Ford in and as “Bladerunner”.

  8. I am indeed lookin forward to Shankar’s Anniyan. The rumours that Anniyan and Ameer’s “Ram” have a common theme is becoming very strong here. I am eagerly lookin forward to both the movies.

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