CAST AND CREW
Production: City Cine Creations – G Sathis Kumar And Amarnath
Cast: Adhithya, Kitty, Pradeep Rawat, Sadha, Vadivelu
Direction: Yuvaraj Dhayalan
Screenplay: Yuvaraj Dhayalan
Story: Yuvaraj Dhayalan
Background score: Vidyasagar
Cinematography: Paul Livingston
Editing: TS Jay, VT Vijayan
Art direction: Thotta Tharani
Stunt choreography: Super Subbarayan
Dance choreography: Sivashankar, Tara
Lyrics: Pulamai Pithan, Viveka
A spy in a gang is called a black sheep whereas a spy among bandits is actually called an ‘ELI’ (Rat). So the very title tells you what the film is about.
Yes, it’s a spy film, that’s evident; yes it sure is going to carry a bag full of comedy components, that’s certain too with the cast list headed by Vadivelu’s name but what’s not certain is how good these comedy and spy elements would work with the audience.
Since Vadivelu plays the lead, one could sense what the general audience would expect out of him. A comic looking detective who is tasked to go on a secret undercover operation to solve a crime situation of incendiarism, just like what Steve Carell and Rowan Atkinson did in Get Smart and Johnny English.
Eli can neither be termed a spy hero film nor a spy spoof film. It is a flick that’s oscillating between the two. Here we have our Vaigai Puyal trying to figure out a way to fit into the shoes of Thennagathu James Bond Jai Shankar. Eli is not a dumb movie with a couple of passable slapstick comedies but at the same time it doesn’t offer anything different from the usual.
The film takes place in the 60’s; the time when Jai Shankar’s detective thrillers were ruling the roost in Tamil cinemas.
This film too carries some old Tamil film references like the costumes, sets or even the characterizations, which the makers might have planted it on purpose. But one wonders how a Contessa car features in a film that takes place in the 60’s, a car series which the Hindustan Motors introduced by the late 1970’s.
Padma Award winner Thotta Tharani takes care of the art direction department. His mastery in creating some fancy sets of the 60’s is one of the high points of the movie.
The songs are a letdown since none of them made an impact and even slowed down the narration of film which was already moving at a snail’s pace.
Vadivelu single-handedly carries the film on his shoulders; he does manage to tickle a bone or two here and there with his funny mannerism and one-liners but it still doesn’t serve enough to satisfy the audience. Sada looks glamourous and comes for a couple of songs coupled with a few scenes towards the end.
Moreover the plot looks a little convenient for the hero to conquer which takes you into a confused zone – is he actually on a mission or not? Overall, the core idea is promising, but the humor doesn’t work.
Verdict: Vadivelu tries hard but Eli doesn’t evoke enough laughter.