Romance in Tamil movies (especially in action movies) are of two kinds – love at first sight on innocent idiot girl (in Tamil movie parlance it's called Genelia Type) or Stockholm syndrome type love where the hero follows the girl incessantly and tortures her in to submission. There are only few movies in the recent past to show a genuine relationship that stems out of friendship and understanding.
Endrendrum Punnagai is one such lovely little gem that portrays a love that is true to heart. It is natural, realistic with refined emotions sans melodrama.
Gowtham (Jeeva), Shri (Vinay) and Baby (Santhanam) are inseparable friends from childhood and run their own advertising production company. Gowtham hates women as his mother left him and his father (Nasser) in lurch. On account of this strong hatred and his father's remarriage, he builds a wall around him to avoid women. He even humiliates women who want to get close to him. Enters Priya (Trisha), first as a business colleague and later develops a friendship with him. At one point of time, Shri and Baby leave him to see through their own lives. The rest of the story is how Gowtham finds his love and discovers why his friends made those choices.
Endrendrum Punnagai has minimal but strongly etched characters that connect with the audience instantly. Although Ahmed (Director) has gone with a dramatic back story for Gowtham, it doesn't affect the narration in a negative way. Gowtham's character is so realistic that you can find someone like him next to you but the only thing is they might not have a backstory like him. Gowtham is egoistic, unapologetic and tries too hard to save his image in front of his friends. Jeeva's portrayal of Gowtham is perfect. His restrained acting and the way he breaks down at the end – Jeeva does a class act. Trisha as Priya has a role with substance, the way she has handled a delicate but sensible woman's character – Hats off Trisha. The way director has tried to show two different sketches of women with respect to Andrea's Sonia and Trisha's Priya is impressive. The movie also shows (although in a funny way) how people lose their identities after their marriage.
Should I say welcome back Santhanam? After few debacles, Santhanam is back to form. There is a five minute sequence in the second half where a drunken Santhanam interacts with his wife – oh boy, he brings down the house. He proves that he is not just a dialogue based comedian and we are more than happy that he is back. Vinay and Nasser are apt to their roles while Andrea helps to move the story forward.
What the story and screenplay did for this movie, music has shattered it completely. The only good piece of music you can listen to in this movie is a 15 second sample of “Kadhalin Deepam Ondru”.No kidding, as Vivek says in one movie, I could see even women going out of the hall during songs and don't start me with the background score. Harris Jayaraj should take a hike.
The only irk with respect to the story is most men don't have a dramatically-bent flashback like Gowtham. Most men and women are afraid of losing their identities after their marriage. That's what happens. But they have to go with the marriage due to different reasons. I wish the director had tried this part.
Otherwise, Endrendrum Punnagai is wonderfully shot and every actor does justice to a well written screenplay. Happy to see a romantic movie that is not exaggerated. Ahmed after his not so impressive Vamanan, has shown why he is a capable movie maker. The careful depictions of subtle emotions will steal your heart. Endrendrum Punnagai will make you question your egos. It will reinstate the faith in friendship and love. Above all it will bring in some smiles.
A 3.5/5 for bringing back smiles and giving us the best romance of 2013. I wish the music was better. Go watch it in theatres.