On most Fridays, cinemas are rarely houseful in the morning. The first show at the theatre – we are talking 11 am – is generally reserved for the films of the no-so-popular stars or debutant directors. It’s generally run for a handful of audience; a few grudging reviewers, college students, and stray couples making a beeline for the corner seats.
Surprisingly though, when I entered Escape last morning to watch Tamilukku En Ondrai Aluthavum, there weren’t many empty seats. The ‘A’ row was a noisy lot; they were clearly excited, the TEAO team. Greeting the audience, they all unanimously requested “honest feedback”.
Tamilukku En Ondrai Aluthavum is a thriller. At least, that is how it’s promoted. However, it’s not the type of thriller that makes you restlessly ache for the movie to begin while watching Suhasini (what’s around her neck?) in this advert. Nor does it inspire you to brawl with the popcorn guy to fill your tub fast.
Because, right when the movie begins, the director gamely reveals (through a quick voice-over by actor Adhi) what you are signing up for.
Simi (Bindu Madhavi) is stranded beneath a pile of debris at a construction site. A massive rock that weighs 83 tonne (“12 lorries”), held by a non-functional crane, is about to hit the ground, right where Simi lies, slowly losing consciousness.
Meanwhile, a terrorist arrives in the city to plant a bomb. Oblivious to the ticking bomb in his car, Raja (Sathish) drives around the city, flirting with his girlfriend. All of this takes place on the day when Mother Earth is also extremely uncooperative. She battles a solar flare. Meaning, mobile networks can’t operate for a while.
Director Ramprakash Rayappa had clearly wanted to try something new, and be spoken about for it. But little did he realise that revealing the story in the first few minutes can work both ways. It could either pique interest, or it could steal the suspense.
A treacherous bleeder, that one.
And, especially in the age where the plot is revealed just ahead of intermission, Tamilukku En Ondrai Aluthavum is defiantly different. But to its credit, it does muster a decent fare, if not something great.
A watch dog with a plastic head and a body woven from what looks like a mesh of cycle chains, prances around the house when I meet Vasanth (Nakul). His mother, the charming Urvashi, is explaining the nuances of the quirky ‘urulai kezhangu gadigaaram’ in her kitchen to her daughter-in-law.
Vasanth is a geek (“oru kutti scientist”), I learn. But not the eccentric kind. He is a geek minus the nerdy glasses and baggy pants. With his dull shirts and shorts, he can easily pass for a boy who sells vegetables at the local market. However, his badass ways are quite memorable. He rides a solar bike, and debates with his naive, yet intelligent mother (she is a geek herself too) about their favourite football teams. Manchester United vs. Real Madrid, if you must. He also lets his mother type a couple of text messages on his behalf – notably, “Ummaaaa” – to his girlfriend.
Tamilukku En Ondrai Aluthavum presents such hilarious, warm moments quite often, but for the contrived sub-plot that appears later, which leaves me a little disenchanted.
Mukil (Attakathi Dinesh) and Simi are an improbable couple. He is a talkative, fraudulent real estate salesman. She is a suicide prevention counsellor and a banker. Their romance, although funny, is forced. Also, Simi’s backstory betrays the mood of the film.
Those are the moments when I long to meet Vasanth and his mother again, and the boisterous taxi-driver Raja (Sathish).
Sathish is now the Santhanam of films with a modest budget. He apes the latter’s body language and delivers one-liners that are so Santhanam – “Moonjiliye six-packs vechirukkaan…” And his exchanges with a ruffian who steals his cell phone in the movie, belong to the kind that would definitely break YouTube soon.
With zany characters and situational humour, Tamilukku En Ondra Aluthavum is quite similar to those easy-reads that one hurriedly picks up before boarding a train. It would keep boredom at bay, but it wouldn’t leave you with anything more to ruminate on.
The Tamilukku En Ondrai Aluthavum 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 an advertising relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.