Tamil Reviews

Enemy Review: Vishal Saves the Day on Screen, but Clubs the Audience to Death

Thirty minutes into Enemy, the VishalArya film that has hit theatres alongside Annaatthe, men armed with guns, glasses and crew-cuts storm a suite at a plush Singapore hotel.


Within stands Arya as Rajiv, his back to the men, facing a gorgeous view of the city. As soon as he hears them entering, his hands go up in a graceful arc (of surrender) – like that of a ballerina. It’s a moment that’s meant to show the might of the character that Arya portrays, a confident criminal, and quite the sophisticate at that.

Muscled, toned, and not bad to look at either, he’s the eponymous “enemy” to Vishal’s undercover superhero – just as black and white. Director Anand Shankar pits two stars of equal stature, and takes a backseat to watch the show.

It is interesting at first. The premise of boyhood friends who turn rivals because of divergent ideologies – Vishal as Chozhan has a risk-averse father who’d rather his son engage himself with something tame while Rajiv’s father subjects him to rigorous training to become a cop, eventually also taking Chozhan under his wing. But then, Enemy quickly becomes reminiscent of Vishal-movies-past, treading carefully around his stardom, never telling us why it cares for him, and why we should.

It would perhaps be interesting to watch Vishal cast in a film helmed by a director who doesn’t rely on pure virility to propel his hero to stardom. Arya had his moment under the sun with Bala’s Naan Kadavul. Vishal, too, was part of the 2011 Bala directorial Avan Ivan alongside Arya. But then, Vishal’s on-screen persona was primarily chiselled by directors like Lingusamy, Thiru and Hari, with even Mysskin’s Thupparivaalan using that as the baseline to develop a passable sleuth. Not that it didn’t serve the actor right, mind.

Vishal is unique in that his following doesn’t belong to an extreme, closeted camp. His fanbase is largely derived from those of other actors, other Tamil heros, and Vishal, in his own right, is considered a bankable star. But there hasn’t been a director who has caused enough disruption in Vishal’s actor persona for the audience to sit up and take fresh notice.

Take for instance, the Gautham Menon and Bala versions of Suriya which propelled the actor’s career to dizzying heights. Both Bala and Gautham Menon chose a simple characteristic to amplify their actor’s persona which also seemed to be a natural fit. Silence. Sometimes brooding, sometimes piercing, and sometimes just plain mysterious, Suriya coupled with silence created a certain aura that no degree of careful scene construction could have ever achieved. Vishal’s most obvious and only discovered strength, on the other hand, lies mostly in flexing his biceps and displays of virile masculinity. And in the course of his career, which spans a decade and a half, this aspect has been exploited to maximum potential. But now, after a two-hour show involving the same tactics, we can’t help but wonder if Vishal’s makeover is long overdue.


In Enemy, Chozhan is a superhero who operates out of a grocery store in Singapore. A few minutes into the film, he’s delivering an order even as he overhears his customer relating her difficulties of being a migrant student. Immediately, he performs certain deft manoeuvres including hacking into the university’s website to relieve her of her misery. During the next instance, a group of migrant Tamil labourers are fighting their employer. Chozhan dons his cape, and acts as their deliverance, magicking their passports back to them. Soon, and as always, the scope for Chozhan’s heroic services is expanded to include national security.

What happens when Chozhan discovers that the threat now facing him – and his people – is an old friend, now turned foe?

Nothing unpredictable – and there lies the tragedy.


The Enemy 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.