Gautham Vasudev Menon always has this trademark voice-over by the hero in almost all his movies. And as a viewer, I haven’t had much of an issue with it (Well a part of me always felt it could have been a little less). But his long-awaited release Enai Noki Paayum Thota is one movie where I felt the voice over as an annoying movie prop. With a hurried narrative that doesn’t have clarity on whether to be a love story or an action thriller, Enai Noki Paayum Thota is one character journey where nothing exciting was happening.
Our hero Raghu is actually narrating the story as a flashback. He was involved in a relationship with an actress named Lekha when he was studying in college. But her guardian Kuberan created issues in the relationship and cut to the present our hero is in Mumbai to find her and is in somewhat a dangerous situation. The relationship between Raghu and Lekha and the Mumbai connection of the love story is the content of the movie Enai Noki Paayum Thota
The major problem I had with this movie was the contrast between the pacing and the tone. Just like a Varanam Ayiram or Ennai Arindhal, here also Menon is trying to give us a full picture of the journey of this character named Raghu. But while a movie like Varanam Ayiram took enough time to register each phase into our minds, ENPT is skipping through everything in a hurry. And Menon slows down at the unlikeliest of places in the script; the placement of the Maruvarthai song for example. It has that visual impact due to its semi symbolic presentation and gorgeous music and lyrics. But it happens at a point in the movie where we are less concerned about this love story. I think Menon himself found out how over the top some of his story elements were and included comparisons with other movies in Raghu’s voice over. When details about Raghu’s brother played by Sasikumar got revealed, I kind of felt a huge disappointment and it was almost similar to what I felt when I saw a Simbu with a beard in the climax of Acham Enbathu Madamaiyada.
When it comes to the making I felt that Gautham Menon is very interested in staying really close to characters. And even though the script is clumsy I sort of enjoyed the way he etches out characters. He is confident enough to just show Dhanush’s face (Kudos to the actor as well) for almost a minute or two in a heartbreaking moment in the story. But where Menon fails is in giving a totality to the story he has created. The second half of the movie was a mess according to me. The script is going from being some sort of a gang war to a bloodshed love story. The hero is going through near-death situations multiple times and too many sequences are there that are just prolonging a climax that won’t excite you anyway. Jomon T John, Manoj Paramahamsa, and SR Kathir have shot this film and visually the movie looks nice. I really didn’t like the way that first fight was edited; the darkness already made it difficult to understand and plus those fast cuts ruin the intended adrenalin rush. Darbuka Shiva and his songs are magical and there is a good chance of people calling this movie as a good one just because of the vibe each song created on screen.
Dhanush is extremely good at being Raghu. In the Mumbai scenes, he is in that extremely vulnerable and frantic space and in the other portions, he is that furious Raghu. Gautham Menon heroes always have that sensitive element and even though the character here is this guy who can punch four people in 10 seconds, there is that sensitivity in Dhanush’s performance. Megha Akash has this amazingly cute face which makes her a suitable choice in terms of looks. The character demanded a certain level of childlike innocence and her face had it. But sadly her performance wasn’t that appealing. Sasikumar is there as Raghu’s elder brother Thiru and to be honest he wasn’t making any great impact on the movie considering how the movie projected the character. Senthil Veerasamy was a fine as the antagonist.
Enai Nokki Paayum Thotta is a bland attempt at mixing a love story and an action drama. It almost felt like Gautham Menon is rehashing his own movies in a different way, making no efforts to reinvent his own craft. The director in him still has the fire, but he should seriously consider investing more in the writing space.
The director in Gautham Menon still has the fire, but he should seriously consider investing more in the writing space.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended