Etharkkum Thunindhavan Movie Synopsis: A lawyer turns judge jury and executioner and goes after a gang, led by a minister’s son, that threatens women.
Etharkkum Thunindhavan Movie Review: In Etharkkum Thunindhavan, Suriya plays Kannabiran, a lawyer who stands by the side of justice and protects the innocents. At home, he is the doting son to his parents Aadhirayar (Sathyaraj, whose presence lends more weight to the character than the writing) and Kosalai (Saranya Ponvannan, in a role that she can, by now, play in her sleep). And in the eyes of Aadhini (a fine Priyankaa Arul Mohan), his love interest, he is like Murugan. In short, he is more or less an avatar, and without straining too much, director Pandiraj establishes the myth of his protagonist. The plot takes this idea forward with Kannabiran trying to protect the dignity of women.
The evil man who is doing the ‘disrobing’ here is Inba (Vinay Rai, taking off from where he left off in Doctor), a central minister’s son. Inba and his gang exploit unsuspecting young women in the name of love and shoot videos of them in sexually compromising positions, and later use the videos to blackmail the victims, a clear allusion to the Pollachi sexual assault cases. When Kannabiran saves Yazhnila, Aadhini’s friend, Inba decides to target the lawyer and threatens to leak hidden cam videos of 500 women if he doesn’t give up Yazh.
At the plot-level, Etharkkum Thunindhavan pretty much moves along on predictable lines. But, like he did with his films like Vamsam and Kadaikutty Singam, Pandiraj roots the characters with very specific backgrounds, which lends some freshness. Like the backdrop in which the film happens. Kannabiran lives in Thennaadu, a region that cherishes women. Inba belongs to the neighbouring village Vadanaadu, whose men marry the girls of Thennaadu. But there is some conflict between the two villages ever since the suicide of a Thennaadu woman who had been married off to a Vadanaadu guy.
The director smartly uses this to inject some suspense and humour into the romance between Kannabiran and Aadhini, who is from Vadanaadu. Some of the humour works, thanks to Devadarshini, who plays Aadhini’s mother Anjumani. But the bunch of comedians who are part of the cast are a letdown. Even Soori, who usually shines in this director’s films, is hardly funny.
However, the director’s attempt to balance ‘family-friendly’ scenes with the more serious portions leads to an uneven tone that is sometimes very jarring. Like the scenes that follow the rescue of Yazh. We expect Kannabiran to take steps stop Inba from uploading the videos of the girls, but instead get lighter scenes involving his personal life!
But what elevates this generic masala movie is its progressive outlook. It is definitely a good thing to see a star vehicle that sends out the right message, especially when it comes to women empowerment. Like Ajith in Nerkonda Paarvai, Suriya, who is charming and earnest, uses his stature really well in these portions. A scene between Kannabiran and Aadhini about the ‘shame’ involved in hidden cam videos is sensibly written (“Verum udambu aabaasamaanadhilla… Avanga vakkara budhiya vida aabaasamaanadhilla”). Yes, the film operates within the male saviour idea, but progression, at least in our cinema, comes one step at a time.
The film is also aware about the greyness of vigilantism and extra-judicial killings. It shows us Kannabiran using the judicial route to get justice and only when all doors are closed does he take up the law in his own hands. We even get a line with Kannabiran stating that he knows the value of a life.