Director: Prasad Ramar Cast: Siddharth, Deepa Sannidhi, Srushti Dange

EnakkulOruvan_Poster

Is watching ‘Lucia’ compulsory before watching this film? In that case do I also have to add ‘Inception’ to my list? Leave out those questions- whether you have watched Lucia or not- in either case, watching this movie with an open mind, forgetting everything else should be the best thing to do, and that is exactly how this analysis of the movie is going to be.

Strengths:
Editing. In such films with a tightly-packed screenplay, the screenplay writer actually does more than half of the work of the editor. However, the editor comes in essential when it comes to giving a different perspective visually. Very few editors leave out their marks like ‘Leo John Paul’ in this film.

The entire concept of the movie has been given out in one line in the trailer- “How would it feel to live a separate life in your dreams, just like real life?”- In one of those lives Siddharth plays the role of Vicky (hopefully, if that is how it is spelt), who works as an errand boy in a cinema theatre and in the other, he is the leading hero ‘Vignesh’ in Tamil cinema. Parallel scenes from these two stories form the crux of the film. The magic is in the ‘moments’ when the scenes switch from one life to another- and editor Leo just makes sure we get to live those magical moments to the fullest.

Few guys are not letting me finish this part- Siddharth, cinematographer Gopi Amarnath, director Prasad Ramar, the art director. Gopi Amarnath makes sure the film glides on flamboyantly sucking us into it in the process- the sharp and elegant black-and-white portions most importantly. When it comes to Siddharth’s efforts to differentiate these two characters, the techniques he has adapted- those surely would add new pages in the ‘textbook guide to acting’. The interesting part here is you instantly fall in love with the simple, unpleasant man Vicky working in the theater rather than with Vignesh, the chocolate boy!

A string of visuals:
It will be better to call this a visual ride for the audience rather than a film that narrates two stories. Take out those scenes, edit them the way you wish to, and the film would still make sense! The film never begins or ends- it is one of those rare films that take you in an endless loop.

Director Prasad Ramar ensures the above phenomenon stays intact, thanks to the uniformity in ‘mise en scene’. The film also being engaging makes things better- making sure you get a complete ‘film experience’ in the end. The two love stories in the two lives, the way things change due to psychological factors- all these stay well connected. You are sure to grasp a lot more details, every other time you watch the movie. The film always keeps establishing minutely, the differences between the real and the dream world- remember those sets in the dream world that were deliberately fake or odd? Thanks to the art director’s sheer brilliance, it doesn’t distract you and passes off as part of the act!

If there is one man who manages to steal the show after all those positive aspects discussed above, it is Siddharth. If Vicky’s body language, appearance, every movement, dialogue delivery are on one extreme the celebrity Vignesh’s character is on the other- you only keep wondering how this man manages to make it possible as if it is just another daily routine! Vicky’s innocence overflowing with cute, childish dialogue delivery is just about enough to shadow all the flaws in the film.

Flaws? Of course, there are more than negligible amount of flaws in the film. The film is so modern and stylish but you are distracted when you suddenly hear some clichéd dialogues, which have the slightest possibility for you to encounter even in a stage drama nowadays. It feels like someone hammering a nail on your head suddenly while everything else had been going well.

Not just in dialogues, the film also is spoiled by some ‘template’ scenes and acting. Except Siddharth and ‘Aadukalam’ Naren, everyone else’s acting seems to be so- the chief culprit being Ajay Ratnam. To add to that, you also feel like the film is ‘void’ at many points. Few scenes miss the intensity; few conflicts don’t seem to be justified well. Even Santhosh Narayanan disappoints you though the film had a very good chance of becoming a musical, psychological thriller- the film’s music does not do justice to his standards. Only the songs “Prabhalamagave” and “Yendi ipadi” remind you it is Santhosh Narayanan. With a decent budget and able production support, the film’s climax could’ve been a lot more visually pleasing than the flat one it actually has. The film even teaches you the most absurd, melodramatic way you could try to wake a person in coma!

After all these, the film ends with a philosophical message that leaves you questioning yourself and your approach to life.

Read only if you have watched the film:
If you have still not watched ‘Enakkul Oruvan’, we strongly advise you to skip this part of the review. It contains spoilers. You can come back to read once you’ve watched the film.

Mostly, when it comes to your final opinion on this kind of a film, it is largely influenced by the ‘twist’ towards the end and if that twist is of the “haa! See I fooled you!” kind, it is definitely not going to end up well. It is more interesting if clues for guessing the twist had already existed and it is of the “haa! If only you had noticed” kind.

It is Vignesh who is real- Vicky, Durai talkies and everything associated with him are part of the dream. If you watch closely, there are clues in this aspect throughout the movie. For example, it is Vicky’s life where the larger-than-life incidents happen. The one selling the ‘Lucia’ pills, John Vijay, looks and behaves in an exaggerated manner in Vicky’s life compared to that of Vignesh. The first time Vicky enters the place to get the pills, the entire setup looks artificial, like a set erected for a movie shooting in a studio.

Another striking factor here is, Vicky has no regrets in life. He is so proud he earns Rs.3,000 a month. He is heartbroken to see his crush have fun with some guy in a movie theatre; the very next scene, he has no hesitation in selecting the same girl’s photo among many shown by a marriage broker. Though he collapses mentally after being rejected by the girl, moments after the ‘formal rendezvous ceremony’, the next thing he does is going to meet her again. Now, the girl sarcastically remarks on his financial status and occupation, a hurt Vicky leaves the place only to come back later to apologize for wishing for the impossible! Though he is jealous of his girl friend’s friend he forgets it in a moment and goes on to sincerely complete the favor he had asked for. Everything in Vicky’s life is unconditional; he has no complaints of his appearance, love, social or financial status.

On the other hand, Vignesh is full of regrets. He is allergic to the limelight and attention he always gets wherever he goes. He loses patience when a journalist constantly tries to refer to his personal life. He remarks more than once that he only wishes to live the life of a simple, common man. He also has an unsatisfied love affair- his girlfriend is not perfectly loyal according to him. Vignesh is color blind from a childhood accident, which also killed his parents. He suffers from insomnia. The dream pill and ‘Vicky’ give him the chance to rectify all those problems.

It seems there are two parallel stories in the film, while in fact there are three. One- the investigation sequence on a bed-ridden Siddharth on coma; two- the black-and-white story showing film star Vignesh’s life; three- Vicky’s life. You could be cheated with the opinion that the black-and-white portion is for the hero Vignesh while the other two in color are associated with Vicky. It is revealed just before the climax that Vignesh is color-blind. While two of those stories were indeed associated with Vignesh’s life, only the portions from his point-of-view are in black-and-white, which is another obvious clue placed in front of us right from the beginning.

This is one approach. There is another way. We see Vicky too takes the ‘Lucia’ pills- may be it is in his dreams he lives as the cine-star Vignesh. Or, one part of the black-and-whie portion might be Vignesh’s real life while the other part can be lucid dreams of Vicky. As said earlier, watching the film multiple times can give rise to multi-dimensional perceptions.

This film is for…
It is one of those not-to-be-missed films if you are looking for a movie that would offer you something different. You cannot say it will be a completely disappointing movie for audience expecting usual ‘Tamil commercial cinema’. The only thing you have to remember is it is not a flawless, perfect film. Though you cannot place it without hesitation, in the category of films trying to form the ‘new wave’ of Tamil cinema, it is a really genuine effort to satisfy that criteria.

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About Author

Mahesh Raghavan

Mahesh Raghavan is a film buff and independent short filmmaker from Chennai. His interest for films of all genres and languages has grown over the years. One film a day is his thumb rule.

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