Echarikkai Idhu Manithargal Nadamaadum Idam Review - Engaging watch that falls in between an adept thriller and a fascinating drama!
Echarikkai starts with two murders. While the film is not about these two murders, it is about two lives ( an eight year old kid and a late teen) that are turned upside down by this event. What follows is the catchy 'Karma is a bitch' song that cleverly showcases the transition in the lives of these 2 impressionable minds. So, very early on in the film, it is established that Sarjun is keen to use all the available screen time to narrate a story devoid of any flab. That is why it irks you when the same filmmaker places a duet at the most inappropriate of places much later in the film.
On the surface, the film is a thriller about a kidnap and a retired police officer trying to solve the case. Where it stands out is the manner in which it establishes the emotional baggage of the primary characters. While the 'what happens next tension?' is very much present, we are also not rooting for anyone in particular because there is this justification for each character for his/her actions.
Sathyaraj is in fine form and the other actors do a neat job. But it is Kishore who really stands out. Here is one amazing actor who is as subtle as it can get but always owns the screen whenever he is a part of the frame. I really wished Sarjun had the characters on screen display more tension. The actors seem to be a little laid back in the mode of a more commercial film but it looks like a conscious decision. Things are also a bit rushed in the final act.
As his short films have already shown, Sarjun is not keen on painting his characters black or white. And contrary to the title, this is a film that actually does not show mankind as a cruel species. It rather depicts how we are willing to relax our moral values to protect those we care for.
Save a few shortcomings in the treatment of a romance angle in the second half, Echarikkai is an engaging watch throughout. It falls in between an adept thriller and a fascinating drama.