Sports films in Tamil cinema are rare. Kollywood tends to churn out two a year, at most. And even those don’t bother with fidelity to the genre. Take Sivakarthikeyan’s Maan Karate (2014), a film that mocked boxing, instead of endorsing it. A sports films needs to have the all-important final, when the hero finally overcomes impossible odds. It needs a build-up around that climax, and some ‘epic’ BGM. It needs slow-motion close-up shots, of taut muscular bodies, sweat dripping, eyes intense and focused, faces brimming with emotion. Eetti, directed by Ravi Arasu, has all this. But like the aforementioned Tamil ‘sports’ film, it also has the masala and the drama. Eetti tries to be a lot of things. Some of this works, some of it doesn’t.
Pugazh (Atharvaa) is a young athlete with a strange medical condition – a bleeding disorder. If he is cut, the bleeding won’t stop. If the injury is deep, it could be fatal. He has to be constantly wary of sharp objects that others don’t even notice. It could be broken glass, or just a nail sticking out of a table. He wants to become an athlete, despite the injury-prone nature of this dream. His family encourages him, because they along with Pugazh feel that he is ‘safe’ that way. Don’t ask why. One fine day, Pugazh happens to get entangled with a counterfeit mafia. He also happens to fall in love with the girl who happens to be the person the villain desires. It’s all too coincidental, and Eetti’s plot isn’t convincing here. Everything just seems to happen.
One such coincidence is when Pugazh is waiting at the bus stop, with a birthday gift for his girlfriend Gayathri (Sri Divya). She’s nowhere in sight. Suddenly, her brother (whom Pugazh had earlier saved) passes by and takes him home, where Gayathri’s birthday is being celebrated. How every boyfriend wishes this would happen!
Atharvaa’s intensive physical training of over a year shows terrific commitment to his role. The result (of this dosa-less year) is a sculpted body, and an enviable six-pack. Two songs in the film focus on Atharvaa working out. The director seems to be fascinated with multiple exposure shots. We see Atharvaa doing crunches on one end of the frame, and push-ups and pull-ups on the other end.
Sri Divya, who was welcomed with a huge roar from the audience, plays Gayathri, a college student who is well-versed in profanity. That’s how she befriends Pugazh. She mistakes him for someone who has been pestering her friend. Pugazh, in turn, threatens to turn her in to the cops (for abusing him), unless she keeps recharging his mobile phone. They gradually begin to like each other. Gayathri, who had stored his number as ‘Torture’ until then, changes it to ‘Pugal’. (Hey, not everyone can say the ‘Zha’ correctly.)
The placement of the songs is dubious. With three songs in the first half, it’s no surprise that as the third one begins, about 25 people exit the hall. Also, Pugazh breaks into a little verse every time his girlfriend is on screen. Even though Eetti isn’t a comedy, it still has some badly written comedy tossed into the script. It’s neither funny, nor plot relevant. On the plus side, while the comedian belts out the unfunny, we do get some time to catch up on Whatsapp conversations.
The stunts are well-choreographed. Atharvaa deftly sways in all directions to avoid knives, aruvaas (sickles), and even fingernails. Thanks to his condition, there isn’t much blood in the film. Although, when he does get injured, CG blood spatters everywhere.
Eetti (spear) has a ‘spear-sharp’ Atharvaa, who keeps us riveted throughout the film. This is a film that establishes him as star material. It’s a pity that the script isn’t nearly as sharp. There’s at least 20 minutes of footage that does nothing for an otherwise interesting premise.
The Eetti review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.