Director: Ramu Chellappa
Cast: Natraj Subramaniam, Rajaji, Radha Ravi, Sanchitha Shetty , Parvathy
Enkitta Mothathey, directed by debutante Ramu Chellappa and starring the ever-vibrant Natty Natraj, is a period film that takes us back nearly 3 decades during the heydays of Kamal and Rajini. The film captures a more raw and experiential moment of our past where fans of these legendary actors had a fervor and sportsmanship that is a bit difference (and alien) in the age of social media and YouTube.
In it, Natraj as Ravi is a cutout artist and an ardent fan of Rajini. Naturally, his paintings tend to gravitate towards the superstar, with each subsequent project getting bigger and bolder. His close friend and agreeable rival is Perumal (Rajaji,) who of course is a Kamal worshiper and thus bids to outdo Ravi at every turn. When passions are at such high levels, a little bit of overreach can quickly turn ugly and such is the case when Natty ruffles up a policeman for spoiling one of his Rajini paintings. Forced to take their craft elsewhere, the duo move to Tirunelveli and find the attention and the audience that they were after.
Meanwhile, their personal lives are moving along at a brisk pace. Ravi finds love in Perumal’s sister (Sanchitha Shetty). And Perumal falls for the girl next door played by Parvathy Nair. Leading a delicate and intertwined life, a monumental moment occurs that brings all these elements into action: the release of Rajini’s Manithan and Kamal’s Nayagan. The ensuing duel brings the topic of cutout paintings under the radar of a local politician (Vijay Murugan,) who, with the help of theater owner and politician Mandhramoorthy (Radha Ravi,) aims to get rid of this craft all together. And Perumal isn’t totally cool with his friend dating his sis! So he too joins the fray and conspires against Ravi.
Enkitta Mothathey brims of life and enthusiasm and the cutouts bring this to the fore. Ramu Chellappa has done a good job in not the portraying the era in a frantic manner, but instead has used the fervent energy of the fans to its advantage. You could feel the essence of Tamil cinema and the love for Rajini and Kamal.
Natraj reciprocates this vision very well. He’s focused and on point - probably one of his best performances. Rajaji has a less prominent role to play, given how much screen time Natraj receives. His performance during the first half though nearly matches Natraj on every move. Sanchitha Shetty is adequate and fits the rustic nature of her role. Art director Vijay Murugan is menacing and terrifying at times. Radha Ravi is one veteran you can count upon for any kind of character and here as a scheming politician he is a breeze.
With a solid screenplay, good camerawork by Ganesh Chadra (Natty would be proud!) and inspired songs by Natarajan Shankaran, Enkitta Mothathey is a refreshing and energizing film. The nostalgia and the politics of Rajini-Kamal will definitely keep you engaged.