Engeyum Eppodhum by Saravanan

Debut director Saravanan hits an ace with his début movie that delivers a social message on ‘safe driving’ without being preachy or patronizing about it.

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Tamil movie ‘Engeyum Eppodhum’ by Saravanan                     Image Courtesy – Filmi Beat.com

So we learn now about a new genre in film making named ‘Hyperlink’ format. It reportedly stands for screenplay wherein you attempt the following –  “Playing with time and characters’ personal history, plot twists, interwoven storylines between multiple characters, jumping between the beginning and end (flashback and flash forward) etc. Nice premise and obviously a good hook to keep the audience glued to their seats, provided of course you can deliver the goods. Staid screenplays itself are rather trying on the nerves of the ordinary cine fan and a convoluted screenplay like above that fails to click will sink easily without a trace.

The movie scores precisely because the screenplay seems to deliver two blooming romantic tales that the viewer hopes will reach fruition although the opening scene of the movie shows a tragic ‘bus crash’ in the making. Not once but even during the intermission and at other critical moments we are reminded on the impending crash and the director pulls no punches while delivering his message. Scenes of the rush hour on our highways, maniacal drivers trying to overtake one another, and the rapid movement of the traffic are so effectively shown that one is scared and wonders that it is not a miracle that accidents don’t happen more often than what we hear of them.

So the two romantic stories have interesting narratives. Imagine a girl visiting Chennai from Trichy for a job interview and being left to fend for herself at the bus stand. Our hero intervenes to spend an engaging day with the girl who is shown to be scared by the bad city stories and takes amusing precautions to protect herself. The hero resembles a ‘block of wood’ when it comes to showing emotions but as usual has a heart of gold. Cupid strikes home in a single day though its consequences unravel months later. While the story has an unusual start, it suffers in the transitions not being easy to understand and at the end of it the story seems to have been left underdeveloped.

The more promising tale of romance and courtship unveils in Trichy itself where the hero, working in a metal job shop, falls for a girl next door who turns out to be a Nurse and takes a lead in the relationship. She mercilessly grills our love struck boy who is simply moon struck. It would have been irritating but for the fact that the capers they pull in are quite original and well-intentioned.

So the director’s hand is shown rather openly – the girls are emotionally more mature and sober and run rings around the hapless boys. And yet he keeps the viewers engaged and scores a win on that point alone.

The message is about ‘safe driving’ and ensuring that the one moment of madness does not wreck your lives the way it does for our protagonists and many others. Vignettes of a father returning from Dubai after 5 years to meet a daughter he has not seen so far, a young married couple reluctant to part company, two collegians taking baby-steps in trying to get to know each other are sidelights that are placed well.

The title is rather apt and the message strikes home in the final moments of the movie. It reminds the viewer of his own mortality and how a casual event like doing a road trip on a highway can unfold in a disaster that can mangle up your life and of your loved ones forever.

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