Eeswaran movie review: A predictable rural subject that goes nowhere

 thehindu.com  01/14/2021 09:05:53 

Seven runs required off six balls. Eswaran (Silambarasan TR) struts into the crease with much fanfare. He wastes a couple of balls, much to the chagrin of his teammates. He gets a lucky run in the form of a wide. And wastes another ball. Till it all boils down to the last ball, and Eswaran, in true CSK-style, wraps off things with a huge six.

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Eswa-ran but well, Eswar doesnt need to run.

There is a lot of fun in this introduction sequence and maybe in the first half too  Eswaran revolves around how Simbu is loyal to Bharathirajaa, whose family is at loggerheads due to a dispute. But it slowly veers into cliche territory, resorting to re-using every clich associated with rural-based films that Tamil cinema has dished out in the last couple of decades.

The film opens with Bharathirajaas story, and how his life changes due to the predictions of an astrologer. Things become topsy turvy, and his long dream of spending time with his grandchildren becomes increasingly difficult once an unsavoury incident occurs in the family. But when it finally does come true, will they all be one big happy family?

Like the many rural entertainers we have seen in the past few years, Eswaran gets the numbers right... and packs the household with as many members as possible, so much that it becomes difficult to keep track of who is related to who. But it misses out on the emotion or drama between these characters, which is what makes most of these films work.

Bharathirajaa is apt in a role that has now become a cliche - the head of a family eternally waiting for a big family re-union. But the revenge angle thrust forcefully into the script is weak. The romantic track is mildly interesting; its a huge relief that the writing does not include the typical hero-falling-in-love portions, but even that gets drab after a while.

It was good to see Simbu letting himself loose in a rural milieu and trying out what Karthi and Sivakarthikeyan did in films like Kadaikutty Singam and Namma Veetu Pillai. But director Suseenthirans idea bank seems to have run dry after the initial setup; a snake sequence seems to stretch for a lot more than it ought to and the supposed twist is something very predictable. What he does well, however, is the smart inclusion of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown elements in the script (Eswaran was said to be shot in record time).

The mass moments try to coexist with the family-pleasing moments; even the opening credits play out like that... the word Silambarasan TR is accompanied by fire and heavy beats, while the rest of the names roll out accompanied by a gentle melody. But Eswaran needed a far more heavy dose of the latter; a gentler approach and some emotion in the characters could have made it a better festival package for the big screen.

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