Critic - No.128

Director: Karthik Shamalan
Casts: Jaya Ganason, KS Manian, Mahessan Poobalan
Music: Shameshan Mani Maran
Language: Tamil
Genre: Crime / Thriller

Inspired by the popular ‘Red Riding Hood’, En Veetu Thottathil depicts the painful journey of a deaf & mute girl, Sujitha (Jaya Ganeson) who is in the captivity of a serial killer, The Wolf.

After a strong presence in the Malaysian telemovie and music video scene, young film maker Karthik Shamalan debuts into the league of feature film (actual debut filmSuhamaai Subbulakshmi’ has been delayed for release). In a closed and conservative film atmosphere like Malaysia, Karthik has made a bold debut with a slasher flick. Did it prevail?

For any slasher film, the main strength relies on the character depth of the protagonist. The emotional connection with the film’s central character, Sujitha excellently portrayed by Jaya Ganeson. The first half of the film invests its time in establishing the unique rapport of the two lead characters and the romantic track evokes the feel-good factor. For instance, the proposal scene is imaginative and yet subtle. It switches back to a track where a police officer who suffers from a guilty mishap previously is given a second chance to nab a serial killer. Even though the first half takes its time to establish itself, once it hits the story’s catalyst which is the kidnapping scene, it takes off with full force.

With a few shockingly violent imaginaries, Karthik ‘comfortably’ projects the slasher genre conventions without any compromises. The emotional arc of the film further gets intensified with a puzzle like cat-and-mouse chase between Sujitha and the Wolf, that is executed quite uniquely. With a shoe string budget, the entire team must have commended for hard work to erect the main house set. The production value doesn’t look diluted at any point. Background music by Shameshan Mani Maran supports the intensity of the film. Performance wise, Mahessan and Jaya stand out. 

On the flipside, in middle of the second half, the film drops its intensity a little with repetitive scene of the howling Wolf. The police track of zeroing down the antagonist also loses steam a little with the laborious pace and contrived twist. But the last sequence, with a few surprising cameos by popular Malaysian actors, makes sure that the film ends off with a bang  hope for a sequel. EVT not only shifts the genre paradigm in but also creates a new hope for Indian Independent cinema in Malaysia. That doesn’t mean that the film will only work in Malaysia but with a global appeal in treatment and narration, EVT will capture the attention of spectators outside Singapore and Malaysia if released worldwide.

Karthik Shamalan’s slasher flick is an effective gore-fest that stabs your senses most of the time, emerging as a bold, significant attempt in the Malaysian New Wave cinema.



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