A lion's share of the film has predictable sequences, but the sincerity in its making keeps us hooked
A still from the film
Story: A widow, whose life revolves around her son and two bulls, struggles to meet ends meet. With no choice left, she sends her 13-year-old son to work far away in order to pay off debt. Will they be able to lead a better life?
Review: Vetri Duraisamy's Endravathu Oru Naal begins with a small sequence showcasing the emotional bond between a child and a mother. The scene is adorable, but we also get to see visible signs of sadness on their faces. Raasathi (Ramya Nambeesan) is a widow who is yet to come to terms with her husband's death which occurred more than a decade ago. Earning a living through small-scale farming in a rural village which faces acute water shortage, Raasathi struggles to make ends meet, and her only hope is her 13-year-old school-going son.
A few minutes into the film, two of her bulls go missing, and we are reminded of the striking similarity the scene shares with Raame Aandalum Raavane Aandalum which was released recently. Thankfully, the similarity ends there. Unlike the other film, there isn't any suspense associated with the missing of bulls. The bulls are confiscated by a moneylender from whom Raasathi's husband, Thangamuthu (Vidharth), had borrowed money years ago. She puts her best foot forward to pay off the debt and lead a better living. However, all her attempts in getting back the bulls go in vain.
Quite distressed at seeing her mother's helplessness, Raasathi's son expresses interest to take up a job instead of studying, though the former is in no mood to encourage it. However, she changes her mind as time passes by, thanks to increase in suffering at home. With no choice left, she sends her son to Madhya Pradesh where the boy works in severe conditions. Will the mother and son be able to lead a better life?
What stands out in the film is the realistic performance of artists. While Vidharth, unsurprisingly pulls off another role convincingly, it's Ramya Nambeesan who steals the show with her matured portrayal of a doting wife and a caring, but helpless mother. The scenic beauty of the village is beautifully captured by Shanmuga Sundaram, which comes across as another positive aspect of the film. The varied emotions of lead characters are conveyed effortlessly to the viewers because of the pleasing visuals.
Ilavarasu, who is seen as an agent who recruits children for jobs, impresses with his wit and suspicious body language. A few others who appear in crucial scenes, too, come up with engaging performances. The background score by NR Raghunathan elevates the mood in a few sequences, thus making for a compelling watch. A couple of poignant moments really affect us because of the way they are staged.
On the downside, the film is a tad slow despite having a few impressive moments. Though the run time is less than two hours, we still feel the movie could have been short. The filmmaker succeeds to a good extent in making the audience connect with the hardships of its lead characters. But their struggles aren't new to the viewers. With a done-to-death backdrop against which the story is set, a lion's share of the film has sequences which are predictable; the climax is an exception, though.
Verdict: Though the film has nothing new to offer in terms of plot and character struggles, the performances of lead actors and sincerity in making keep us hooked.
Endravathu Oru Naal is streaming on Zee5.