Reviews

Enakkul Oruvan: Minus the charm of Lucia

Remakes are always tricky. But, when actor Siddharth decided to star in Enakkul Oruvan, the Tamil remake of Kannada super hit, Lucia, it was considered a safe bet. Upon its release in 2013, filmmaker Pawan Kumar’s crowd-funded Kannada indie feature, Lucia, was hailed unanimously by critics for weaving several interesting motifs into the film: it discussed how single screen theatres are becoming extinct; it gave a nod to the importance of local language, and spoke about how reality and fantasy are often interchangeable. It had everything going for it. It was considered intelligent and ambitious; achieving almost everything it wanted to despite its crowd-funded budget.



The original was celebrated in a specific context: it was perhaps the best film from the struggling Kannada film industry in recent times. The Tamil remake, Enakkul Oruvan doesn’t have the cushion of being judged as a ‘crowd-funded Kannada indie’. Enakkul Oruvan will be judged as a regular film, produced by leading Tamil film producers and featuring some well-known actors.



The film has an interesting play: two stories – a story about a helper of a dying single screen theatre and a famous film star – unfold side-by-side; with the latter appearing as the dream of the former after consuming a drug called ‘Lucia’ to cure his insomnia.



Director: Prasad Ramar
Cast: Siddharth, Deepa Sannidhi
Music: Santhosh Narayanan
Producer: C.V. Kumar


Soon, the helper appears to fantasise about being a big film star and the narrative begins to question itself. It devolves into a film seeking an answer to its central mystery: who is fantasising about whom? Is the helper fantasising about being rich and famous or is it the film star dreaming about being someone ‘invisible amongst the crowd’? While the original was lauded for being smart and refreshing; the remake will have to be judged for going beyond the original.



The writing is novel: the two plots literally share its story events and characters. It reflects the process of writing itself in which characters from real-life are put into fictional situations and vice-versa.



However, the novel story telling is marred by its uneven rhythm and sluggish pace. Some of the interesting themes – especially the commentary about the importance of local language – may not have the same impact it might have had in the original because the context has changed. Let us consider the language politics. While Bangaloreans might identify with the commentary that Kannada is losing the language battle to Hindi and English, the Tamil audience might not perceive it in the same way as Tamil still occupies a central place in politics and society.



The central philosophical point about how the mind can lose its ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy is intact and full marks to the team for not messing with it. The film focuses on the nature of fantasy itself. We think we desire the object of fantasy, but in reality, we only want the fantasy of desiring for objects. The complex point – which is also the film’s central message – comes across clearly. Other than that, the remake feels as if it is merely going through the motions. We feel that the filmmaker is simply content making his point and moving on.










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Printable version | Jun 11, 2021 10:06:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-reviews/enakkul-oruvan-minus-the-charm-of-lucia/article6966760.ece

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