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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Engeyo Ketta Kural

On a slow afternoon, I switched on Sun TV . "Engeyo Ketta Kural" starring Rajini, Ambika & Radha had just started playing. Sun TV is famous for "good-for-nothing" movies during day times. I'd never heard of such a Rajini starrer and I was wondering if this was another god forsaken movie from the 80s. Tamil movies from the 80s tend to broad caricatures rather than intricate character portrayals. The villain is usually a comic-book definition of evil. The hero, a by-the-book version of goodness. There are standard plots, turning points, endings. Not that they are any less entertaining but they don't evoke a "hmmm" reaction from the audience.

To my pleasant surprise, this one turned out to be a pretty riveting, well-made movie! It tackles the prickly subject of a troubled marriage very maturely without overt typecasting of anyone as "bad" or "good". Ambika and Radha are sisters with very different temperaments. Ambika is a well-read, educated girl who aspires to things other than tending to cows and fields. She's betrothed to her "Murai maama" Rajini at birth. Rajini is head over heels in love with Ambika but she's indifferent. Radha in love with Rajini completes the triangle. However, due to familial constraints and an inability to make up her mind, Ambika ends up marrying Rajini. The couple have lots of skirmishes and fights because of their differing ambitions and goals in life. Ambika, unable to bear this unhappy marriage, leaves town with her early love -- the village zamindar's son -- who is more suited to her temperament. The consequences of this action are explored in the second half of the movie.

Rajini has given a very sensible, balanced portrayal. He forgives Ambika her desertion of him and their daughter. In fact, he tries to reconcile Ambika with her family toward the end. For a change, it was refreshing to see a cinema husband act "normal" instead of throwing fits and temper tantrums. Director S.P. Muthuraman has explored a lot of grey areas in complex relationships between sister-sister, mom-sister, husband-wife etc... Some scenes are a commentary on how people react because that's how they're "expected" to react. For instance, Ambika's parents' reactions when they learn their daughter has run away. There are some scenes which are brilliant in their highlighting of some issues with marriages. The scene where Ambika tries to make up her mind whether to marry Rajini is perfect -- "I neither like him or hate him. I am indifferent. It is difficult for me to make up my mind because of this!I guess I have to marry him for family reasons because I don't dislike him."

There are some obviously masala things that could've been avoided at the end but all-in-all, a very feministic, forward-looking movie for its era. Definitely worth watching for its novel value..:)

7 comments:

viswajith.k.n said...

One question that is not at all related to your post...Is it me imagining or is it your blogroll seems to be much smaller these days? :P

subhashssm said...

hey,
well done
a honest review and i really appreciate it.
a very good one like some of u r previous posts.

expertdabbler said...

cycle gap la johny, 6 ilurundhu 60 varai, mullum malarum( if u have not seen it yet) parthudu..

you are not going to see that rajini anymore...

personally i've not watched 6 to 60.. the other two were mahendran films..

mahendran oda nejathai killadhe was the inspiration for mouna ragam... some claim it was better then mouna ragam...

Badhri said...

Appears like 6 to 60 is already suggested earlier, but hey I have watched the movie.

In fact, as I read your revew half-way through I sensed that his has to be the work of SP.Muthuraman.

6 to 60 is a good entertainment for purist movie-lovers (i.e those who place story and character development higher than the star value). In fact, this 6 to 60 along Tillu-mullu is the movie that convinced me that Rajini can actually act a bit.

RS said...

Hey, believe it or not, I watched most of that movie on Sun too...I remember being annoyed at Ambika for not being able to make up her mind after she runs away with that other chap...:p

saravanan said...

now they are playing this movie in jaya tv.. so thought of checking out in net whether to see or not.. good review... :) :)

Sanghimangi said...

Oh dear..... I was badly searching the name of the Movie name for past two hours in the Midnight... Two weeks ago I saw this movie in Sun TV in night time. So no break was there and I could not control my sleep without completing this movie. After that today I suddenly I remembered and try to search the movie name in google and it took two hour for me. FYI I could not remember any of the heroine names which caused this much delay... I'm very happy to read your comments and now downloading it to watch in the weekend.....