Ennai Nokki Paayum Thota

Gautham Menon presents a generic dream – if one could call it that – of the ordinary young-adult male: a romance with a starlet. Even though he pulls you straight in to this dream mode, you buy it because of his aesthetic. Chivalrous characters like the guy who is genuine in ensuring the safety of a girl; the girl who wants to take the efforts to appreciate him, great music and constant trips inside the protagonist’s mind through voiceovers. Some people consider the last element as somehow cheating the medium. But where’s the rulebook? This conceit he uses turns utterly generic tropes into engaging ones. What is a very external, mechanical boss fight ends up feeling like watching an internal arc. It can get overbearing, but the moments of fun do compensate.

In this film, the saving-the-damsel trope is extended to the lengths of carrying-the-damsel, both in the visuals for the songs and in the film’s events. This is obviously a far less intriguing romantic narrative than the director’s previous works because it deals with external issues more than it deals with a relationship or the absence of it. It does try though, with an interesting run-away brother angle, but again his backstory is populated with reasons leading to subplots that sound like Pokkiri (in Raghu’s words), and this film is not where they belong.

But the voiceovers again, I liked a lot. They’re occasionally funny, and generally cool. Dhanush sells GVM’s indulgence well in a story that lacks the wit to carry it. Only so much can be done in a voiceover-narrative that has more physical conflicts than psychological ones. This is probably the reason why voiceovers work better in a Vaaranam Aayiram or a Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya.

In spite of being exposed to heftier stuff, I can’t give up on this particular filmmaker because I grew up watching and admiring the kind of heart he puts in his aesthetic. Come as many detours, I’ll always root for his charm. Let’s move on to the next mode please.


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