Enai Noki Paayum Thota Story: A college student who is in a relationship with an actress has to let go of her because of her gangster guardian. What happens when she walks back into his life, with news about his estranged brother, who is in trouble?
Enai Noki Paayum Thota Review: The initial promos of Enai Nokki Paayum Thota (ENPT) felt like a reiteration of Gautham Vasudev Menon's previous film, Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada (AYM). And the film is that, more or less. Just like how his cop films are mainly episodes in the lives of different police officers, the director seems to be making another series - the daring young man and the damsel in distress.
The youngster here is Raghu ( Dhanush , for whom this role is a walk in the park), from an affluent family in Pollachi, who is studying in Chennai. It is love at first sight for Raghu when he sees Lekha (Megha Akash, pretty but feeble), an actress who is shooting in his college. Lekha, an orphan, is a debutante under the control of Kuberan (Senthil Veerasamy), a film industry type with connections in the world of gangsters. Even as Raghu tries to shield Lekha from him, the girl chooses to go with Kuberan for the sake of Raghu and his family’s safety. Cut to four years later, and Raghu receives a call from her, asking him to come to Mumbai, where his estranged brother Thiru (Sasikumar) is in trouble. And this pushes the young man into a violent world of dirty cops and gangsters, and straight in line of fire. Can he dodge the bullets and save his girl?
One of the biggest issues with AYM was its sudden tonal shift that gave it the feeling of two films patched together. Gautham Menon sidesteps this issue in ENPT. He constantly intercuts the action from his protagonist's the rose-tinted world of romance and the blood-spattered crime world, and from the past and the present. In a nice touch, both the halves of the film begin with Raghu about to take a bullet.
By now, you either love or hate the use of the voice-over as a narrative tool in this director's films, and here, the uses this to convey the thoughts of his protagonist - like in a novel. This works at times (especially during the action scenes, when the voice-over becomes a sort of commentary on his actions by Raghu himself) and feels indulgent and merely expository in others (like the back story we get about Raghu and his siblings, which fails to connect emotionally).
Romance has been this director's strong point, and here, too, these portions work - although not as charmingly as they did in AYM. The hero is a gentleman, unlike in most of our films, which is a good thing. The one time he loses cool with his girl, and speaks crassly, we get a voice-over expressing regret at such an outburst (aambalainga appappo ippadi mirugam maadhiri nadandhukkarom illa?). That said, we don't engage as much with this romance, mainly because we never get why Lekha falls for Raghu. Darbuka Siva's lovely songs help, but the way they are picturised is disappointing.
The action portions are fairly routine, and like in AYM, here, too, the director stretches the limits of plausibility. We get a superbly shot fight inside a lift, but otherwise, these scenes lack tension. Add to this a miscast Sasikumar and generic villains, and the result is underwhelming. In the end what we are left with is a competently shot but less than compelling film.