First of all, let's shake hands with Director S.P.Rajkumar. He has taken a very taboo subject in tamil cinema and tried to make the best of it. What begins as a very promising film concludes with Rajkumar having to adhere to the norms, biases and stereotypes of commercial tamil cinema. If Rajkumar had been willing to make a strong statement in favor of rape victims living and enjoying the rest of their lives despite societal scrutiny, En Uyir Nee Thaanae could have become a classic. But he settles for the usual masala and stereotypical approach which makes the film appear flawed and incomplete. Director Rajkumar, you have some great ideas!.. Please try to implement them in a better fashion next time.
Prabhu is a rich industrialst who raises his father's (Rajan P. Dev) illegitimate son (Master Mahendran). Rajan P. Dev disagrees with Prabhu's decision to raise the child and in turn, Prabhu leaves home to live alone with that child. In the meantime, Devayani who witnesses a murder on the street, testifies in court against the murderer and gets him convicted. In revenge, the convicted man's brother rapes Devayani. With a middle class family in Rajesh - C.R.Saraswathi blaming her for the rape, Devayani leaves home trying to take refuge in a friend's home. Things take an ugly turn when members of her friend's colony speak ill of Devayani and try to throw her out. Prabhu comes to the rescue, gives her room in his house, promotes her as Master Mahendran's (unofficial) mom and as manager of the factory that he owns. Prabhu falls in love with her and offers to marry her. Devayani, so caught up with her karppu and lost life, rejects the offer and begs Prabhu to drop the thought all together. To add spice to matters at hand, Prabhu's murai ponnu, Maheshwari enters the picture and plays the 'usual' eeshara role, which makes Devayani jealous. Interesting turns occur as Prabhu's mother, Srividya confuses matters just before Devs decides to give Prabhu a 'yes' for marriage.
The three main problems with En Uyir Nee Thaanae are 1) S.P.Rajkumar's indecisiveness in giving Devayani a strong enough character to believe in herself and build a new life even after being raped. She is made to look so tame, vulnerable and weak until Prabhu gives her the motivation to live. 2) Rajkumar, once again, fails to tell his viewers that as we move fast towards the new millenium, Indian, especially Tamil society should stop blaming innocent women for getting raped and stop making "karppu" a definite requirement for marriage (Even Devayani sites this as a requirement, while refusing Prabhu's marriage proposal. Mind you, she was an innocent victim, not one who brought this upon herself by any means. The alternate argument can be made (similar to the one Rajesh makes in the film) that Devayani did bring this upon herself by being a law abiding citizen and testifying in court. This, in turn, will give another wrong message advocating citizens to turn away from crimes for the sake of personal security). 3) Rajkumar's final fault was not building a strong background for Prabhu including how he became a rich and wealthy industrialist after leaving his father's business behind. Acting wise, Prabhu and Devayani are comfortable in the melodramatic scenes. Devayani is especially more at home with her expressions in this film. Maheshwari reprises her role in Naam Iruvar Namakku Iruvar and Mannavaru Chinnavaru as the 'second' woman who nevers gets the man despite the 'undaas of joLLu'. Goundamani and Senthil are very annoying to say the least. Fast Forward their scenes to avoid a headache!
January Nilavae by Deva is the most melodious among the songs, but the poi sollaadhae female voice that intrudes is a little irritating and repetitious. S.P.Rajkumar had a gem in his hands, if only he had known how to fill in the important blanks to create an acceptable and successful 90s film on the social issues surrounding women and rape. En Uyir Nee Thaanae only strengthens the belief that Indian society does not provide women any choices in life after rape (unless saviors like Prabhu appear out of nowhere!). We hope that Rajkumar has a better message in store in his next film!
Original Photograph (En Uyir Nee Thaanae):
Thanks to Cinema Express