The beat of cymbals, folk instruments and the rustle of leaves will entice you into becoming a part of the narrative; the quick movements, perspective shots and wild camera angles will tickle your cinema bone.
The sequence of the first robbery is wonderfully choreographed, the expressions are apt, intense and there is nothing but the blue of the night and silence and five or six men gliding across a house committing a crime so beautifully.
The complex and layered storyis set during the mid-18th century in south India and begins in Sambayya's (Pasupathy) village – a village of thieves who rob the rich to feed themselves. Pasupathy meets Chinna (Aadhi), another brave thief and enrols him in his group. But Chinna comes with a past, he is a native of the Veerapalem village (a village of watchmen). There is bad blood between the two villages of Martooru and Veerapalem and things take a turn for the worse when a Martooru villager (Bharat) is found murdered in Veerapalem.
The King intervenes and orders that to avenge the wrong done to Martooru village folk, Veerapalem villagers must make a human sacrifice and Chinna gets chosen. However, unwilling to die, Chinna sets out to find the true killer, but he is unable to prove it in time and his dear friend gets sacrificed instead. Chinna is advised to go into hiding for 10 years so that the sacrifice on his name is called off in accordance to the village laws. However, in the ninth year, Chinna gets caught and is made to give a sacrifice. The film moves back and forth and the real story of the feud and sacrifice is told through a flashback when Chinna gets caught.
Aadhi's character is complex and offers some food for thought – he is brave but he wants to live, he isn't a hero in the true sense of the word, but he is hero because he is human and ridden with emotion. While the film offers a technical feast through cinematography and sets, it falls short purely because it is downright sloppy and slow in the second half of the film. Stretching over three hours and ten minutes, Eka Veera can test your patience, even with elements in place and by getting the fundamentals right..
Performances are exemplary right till the third hour of the film, it is in the last scenes of the film that there are hints of amplified expressions and forced tear-jerkers. Music by Karthik is experimental, but easy on the ears and complements the film very well.
Too many sub-plots and unnecessary footage mars what could have been a celluloid marvel– 3 hours, 10 minutes is simply not done.
Cast: Aadhi, Dhansika, Archana Kavi, Pasupathy
Director: Vasantha Balan
Plot: Story about village feuds and human sacrifice
Bottomline: Cinematography gets overshadowed by grossly negligent editing