‘Ethir Neechal’ not out of the box, yet entertaining (Tamil Movie Review)

Film: “Ethir Neechal”; Cast: Sivakarthikeyan, Nandita, Priya Anand, Jayaprakash, Ravi Prakash, Suza Kumar, Manobala, Dhanush and Nayantara; Director: Durai Senthil Kumar; Rating: ***

“Ethir Neechal” is one of those films where the first and second halves are vaguely connected. The film oscillates between a cliched romantic-comedy and a sports movie at regular intervals only to appear like an inspired version of Simon Pegg’s “Run, Fatboy, Run”.

The first half of the story revolves around college going Sivakarthikeyan, who is always ridiculed by his friends for his funny sounding name. Tired of always being mocked at, he decides to choose a different moniker with the hope that things would be better.

Guess what, life does take an unexpected turn for our hero. People start treating him with respect and he even finds himself a girlfriend. However, what follows is a completely different second half, which explains why our hero out of the blue decides to run a marathon. By the end of the film, you ask yourself what was the connection between the first and the second half?

The film starts off like every other romantic-comedy with adequate amount of comedy and drama, but there’s hardly anything spectacular to rave about, including the story.

At some junctures it seems to be inspired by the Simon Pegg film, especially in the second half. The English movie was about a guy, who once jilted his fiancee, decides to run a marathon to win her back. Here, we see a guy running a marathon to prove something that he couldn’t all his life.

Most sports films have a tendency to glorify our hero to the heights of a champion even before winning, and that’s precisely what you see in the film. To add to the woes, we have a bad guy even in the sports arena.

Why is that we always have to make two characters to pit against each other to find out who is stronger? By making these characters compete, in a way we make the audience root for the hero.

Siva played his part effortlessly and proved once again that he is not only fit to play comedy roles. While focusing too much on our male protagonist, the film doesn’t use its two female leads – Priya Anand and Nandita effectively. The song featuring Dhanush and Nayantara doesn’t quite make any difference because we all know why it was made at the first place.

Anirudh’s music is not exceptional, but it definitely gives few reasons to enjoy the film better. Kishore’s editing could’ve definitely been crisper as we find places where the film struggles to move forward.

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