Ennodu Vilayadu Tamil Movie Review
Movies on gambling or betting have always been a bit tricky for our filmmakers to handle. While the concept itself carries some negative connotation, more often than not the trope that is engaged in such movies is to showcase the leading man or woman as a street smart go-getter who transcends beyond the traditional Tamil hero's moral boundary with loads of action and some engaging narrative mechanics.
As far as I've seen in Tamil Cinema, it has been a hit (like Mankatha) or a miss (like Vai Raja Vai) phenomenon. However, Ennodu Vilayaadu that is considered to be a low budget (or call it low key) betting drama straddles on betting and romance but justifies neither portions of the narrative.
The movie revolves around Vikram (Bharath), who is so addicted to horse race betting that he loses 27 lakhs. He tries to make up for his losses by meticulously following up with the fixing conspiracy hatched between horse owners. In parallel there is a romantic track between another couple, Sridhar (Kathir) and Inba (Sanchita), whose plot eventually intertwine with that of Vikram. Both the couple needs money and how they go about "earning" it forms the rest of the plot.
As a plot on paper, the movie would have been quite convincing for a producer or an actor. But in order to shepherd the same onto the screen commands a sort of maturity. The plot that involves the betting portions and the romantic track between the two couples appear to have been scraped from two different movies and retrofitted.
Even though there were some plot points that carried some brilliance (like the climax), the build up to such a scene was naive. Songs were a major hindrance for the pace, even though the movie was just over 2 hours in length.
Also, character establishment was weak. For e.g. Sridhar's reason for aversion towards females was not well established and so we fail to appreciate the ensuing romance. Also why was he made to stay with his sister's friend is a pertinent question, especially for a guy who is averse towards girls.
Bharath's character was also not very convincingly portrayed - his cool way of going about fooling banks and blatantly bugging the high voltage conspiracy between race-fixers were hardly convincing.
The movie appeals in terms of executing a novel form of betting - horse racing, and touching upon its nuances like the skills needed to predict the winning horse over a series of races. Also, the overall craft of the movie looked neat, except for some rough edges like lip sync issues, logical loopholes (filling in petrol for a diesel car) and so on.
Overall it was an average offering that did everything to pull our attention, but due to a half-baked narrative, the movie fell just short of the finishing line!