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Eenadu Movie review
Versatile Kamal Haasan's Eenadu, directed by debutant Chakri Toleti and produced by Raj Kamal and UTV Productions, is a true reflection of the common man's anger against terrorism, one of the most dreadful social evils in the world. Evolving around lots of interesting twists and turns just like Kamal's earlier movies, the film puts forward a thought-provoking discussion: "What is the right solution for terrorism?" and finally lands up with quite a complicated solution that terrorism has to be uprooted by terrorism itself, which means "sword against sword!" Though this solution is diametrically opposite to Buddha's virtue of the Middle Path to be chosen by every "broken man" in the dilemma of extremes, Eenadu is a must-watch.
A remake of Neeraj Pandey's critically-acclaimed Hindi film A Wednesday, Eenadu is not a so-called mainstream film with a few kuthu songs, unnecessary fights and lengthy dialogues. It aims to be cerebral. The film begins with scenes of a former Police Commissioner Eshwar Prasad (Venkatesh), describing in a voiceover, what happened on the day when his life turned upside down.
When the voiceover ends, we see an unnamed man (Kamal Haasan), strategically placing travel bags (assumed to be carrying explosives) in a bus, vegetable market, train and toilet of a police station. Then he arrives on the rooftop of a building under construction and sets up his base of operations. He calls up Police Commissioner Eshwar Prasad and informs him that five bombs will explode in different locations of Hyderabad unless the government releases four Islamic militants in their custody. After many twists and turns, the government hands over the four terrorists. Unexpectedly, the caller kills the four men, revealing that he is just a "stupid common man", not belonging to any terrorist group, and his plan was not to free the terrorists but to kill them, thus "cleansing the roach-infested house".
Let's set aside the much clichéd reviewer observations like "Actors are brilliant, camera work is outstanding, background score gells with the mood" and so on for a moment! (Of course, Eenadu has all these qualities and is technically superb, but there is more to it. The film has a wonderful team comprising super stars Kamal Haasan, Venkatesh, Era Murugan - dialogues, Manoj Soni - camera, Rameshwar Bhagat - editing and Shruthi Haasan - background score.) Instead, let's talk about the basic theme of the film.
After watching the movie, the average movie buff would surely come out of the theatre with a number of unexplained questions, especially about the acceptability of its basic message how terrorism should be handled in our society. The whole film indirectly affirms that to avoid mass destruction to society and to save thousands of lives, terrorists should be killed without trial and cleansed like cockroaches in the house! It may sound quite logical, but is not a permanent solution to the problem of terrorism. Think of a situation when a group of terrorists is killed just as the film's climax shows! The vacant seats of the dead would be replaced by their sons sooner or later and the future would be much worse with the origin of new dedicated terrorists and more attacks. The point is that fighting against terrorism is not just killing a few terrorists; rather, it's finding the actual root and eliminating it.
Studies suggest terrorism is just a threat or use of violence against civilians to draw attention to an unsolved issue, which is most commonly political. The terrorists believe that violence will effectively redress the issue. In fact, a close look at the day-to-day events in various parts of the world is enough to trace the actual root of terrorism and a broad-minded bilateral discussion should cure them. So the makers of Eenadu have failed to observe terrorism as an international phenomenon, caused from serious political injustice, grievances, poverty and inequality. Instead, it conveys some fallacious ideas on terrorism management in a narrow perspective of a common man and his feelings.
This drawback in the basic theme could have been avoided if the unnamed character (played by Kamal Haasan) was presented in a definite backdrop. Unfortunately, in an attempt to represent the unspoken feelings of all common men, the character is too generic and vague for the audience to rationally understood him and empathize with his feelings. Had the character been like Mani Ratnam's Velu Naiker in Nayagan (who kills the corrupt local police officer to save the local people) or Shankar's Senapathy in Indian (a 70-year-old man who kills top government officials to weed out corruption), the effect would have been much more. (But then, the plot would have strayed too far from the original and possible the film would have run for three hours rather than the present two hours.)
All in all, Eenadu is a good thriller, but disturbing and leaving one with a number of questions at the end!