Mumbai, 25 Mar 2017 10:37 IST
Director Ramu Chellappa's nostalgic film is a good entertainer that offers a generous dose of action, drama and romance.
Engitta Modhathey is a film set in the 1980s, with a generous dose of action, drama and romance. The story revolves around two cut-out and hoarding painters, Ravi (played by Nataraja) and Nalla Perumal (played by Rajaji). Both Ravi and and Perumal are friends. However, while one is a Rajinikanth fan, the other swears loyalty to Kamal Haasan. At one stage, the two quit their jobs and return to Ravi's hometown, Tirunelveli, where they start a business of their own.
Ravi, meanwhile, becomes a member of the Rajinikanth fan club in Tirunelveli, even as Nalla Perumal gets his sister (played by Sanchita Shetty) and mom to come down to live with them.
Life is peaceful for a while as the two friends get their cut-out business running. However, trouble begins when Chidambaram, a theatre manager who moonlights as a local strongman steps in. Chidambaram feels threatened by the role of fan clubs in settling disputes between local warring factions.
Seeking to start a war between both the fan clubs, Chidambaram gets Mandhiramurthy (played by Radha Ravi), his mentor and politician, who is the president of the distributors association of the region, to ban cut outs of stars in theatres. This triggers a problem, and the fan club revolution begins.
At the same time, Perumal learns that his sister is in love with Ravi, and decides to throw Ravi out of his house. As the friends part ways, the changing political equations threaten to disrupt their friendship forever. How they overcome it and whether they get back together is the crux of the tale.
Cameraman-turned-actor Nataraja, who made an impression with his performance in Sathuranka Vettai (2014) and Milaga (2010), plays his role to perfection. As a painter passionate about his profession, and unafraid of the world, Nataraja steals the show with yet another sterling performance. A case in point is the sequence in which he negotiates with Radharavi (who is adamant on not allowing a film to release) and secures the release of a Rajinikanth film. No wonder then that this cinematographer, who is quite popular in Bollywood for his skills as a cameraman, is giving his career as an actor an equal chance.
Rajaji as Nalla Perumal does a reasonably good job as the friend-turned-foe. There are sequences though where he fails to convince. In the scene where he learns of his sister's love for his friend, Rajaji simply falls short of expressing a brother's rage.
Shetty does a neat job as Nalla Perumal's sister and Ravi's romantic interest. Parvathy Nair as Nalla Perumal's girl just ambles along through the film.
Director Ramu Chellappa and his team have made a fantastic effort to recreate the Tirunelveli of the 1980s. From the rupee notes used to decorate the vehicles of the era, and the recreation of fan celebrations of big hero films, right down to the theatres and houses, the film manages to recreate the authentic feel of the era. Director Chellappa, and art director Aarusamy, deserve full marks for this effort.
Chellappa's story is rooted in reality and occasionally, his dialogues make the viewer sit up and take note. However, the film fails to hold the attention of the audience throughout. The reason is that the pace of the film, at times, slackens. Tighter editing by Athiyappan Siva could have made this film a more enjoyable affair.
On the whole, Engitta Modhathey is a commercial entertainer which will, by and large, leave you satisfied.