The basic story line of Engeyum Kaadhal seems to be a straight rip off from Billy Wilder’s Love in the Afternoon, made way back in 1957! In Prabhu Deva’s Tamil film too, the story happens in Paris – maybe that is his way to pay homage to Billy Wilder! The only difference in the plot is that in the original film, the lead pair – Gary Cooper and the charming and perky Audrey Hepburn – are made out to be as an ‘odd’ couple but here Jayam Ravi and Hansika look like a ‘perfect’ couple.
Kamal (Jayam Ravi) is a young billionaire, who on a monthly holiday in France, dates many women, but without any commitments whatsoever. He doesn’t believe in love as according to him, it brings only sorrows. Rajasekhar (Suman), runs a Detective agency in Paris and his daughter, Kayalvizhi (Hansika Motwani) often reads her father’s client’s files. A new client walks in to find out the mystery man in his girl friend’s life. He believes it is Kamal and wants to kill him. Kayal coming to know of this saves Kamal and falls in love with him. But Kamal takes her love lightly and treats her on par with his other casual girl friends. So Kayal uses the same ‘technique’ on Kamal, making him feel jealous till he finally he says ‘I love you’ to her…
After taking the basic story plot, Prabhu Deva’s treatment is more like a dance and musical comedy. He seems to enjoy choreographing the dances, fights and various romantic situations. His own playfulness does come to full potential in many places. In one of the usual chase sequences, as Kamal is running after a petty thief, through the streets of Paris, creating commotion, we see suddenly in a restaurant, actor Prakash Raj trying to get up, to look at what is happening. The hand of Prabhu Deva enters the frame with his voice, pushing him back gently but firmly, asking Prakash Raj to be just seated as he has not been offered any role in this film. I was stunned. Just for this one moment I would say hats off to Prabhu Deva and I hope that this at least was original! Similarly, Prabhu Deva’s entry into the frame, when the hero and the heroine part in two different directions also is amazing. The song Valliye, Chakkara Valliye is superb – brilliantly choreographed and filmed. Though the techniques used are more or less similar like in many films, which he or his brother Raju Sundaram have choreographed, one can experience Prabhu Deva and his trip through out.
On the flip side, however, all the song and dance in the film look pre Sivaji The Boss (Shankar’s Rajinikanth starrer, 2007). And though Engeyum Kaadhal in itself is attempted as a breezy light feelgood film, like Prabhu Deva’s dances, it is unable to really take off much like the pigeon in the film. Though both Jayam Ravi and Hansika Motwani have done excellent work, the handling of the story line and screenplay are pretty weak. The idea of Kamal coming to Paris one month every year is not handled well. The characters of Kamal and Kayal have no shades other than being pitched against or for each other. The other characters stick out like sore thumbs while the value systems, attitudes and perspective shown in the film are all pretty silly. Even the idea of using a foreign location offers nothing, other than using them as mere backdrops for song and fight scenes rather than integrating them into the film’s main storyline. The camera work by Nirav Shah is neat and straight forward and he does make the hero and heroine look good, while Anthony’s clever editing still can not really save the film. Harris Jayaraj has scored well and while the songs are catchy enough, strangely, the film sounds dated even in this department.
All in all, Engeyum Kaadhal has its sporadic moments but that’s really about it.
Tamil, romance, Drama, Color