Let’s say you have the idea for a timeless romance, centered on Christian characters, about the “existense [sic] of love in heaven.” Would you name the lovers Charles and Diana, after the royal couple whose marriage spiralled into the very definition of a cautionary tale, reminding us that a lavish fairy-tale wedding is no guarantee against acrimony and adultery? Sinish Sreedharan, the director of Endrendrum, doesn’t seem to care. He announces, at the beginning, that his film is based on chaos theory, and he opens with a shot of Charles (Sathish Krishnan) moping by the seaside, as a computer-generated butterfly flaps its wings and lights on his shoulder. A voiceover informs us that it’s Good Friday, the only day of the year he looks forward to, because that’s when he and his mother make the pilgrimage from Coimbatore to Chennai, away from a father and husband who hates them.
We wait for this traumatic past to inform Charles’s actions, which come to involve murder and communicating with spirits from the afterlife, but we realise very quickly that the real chaos lies in the writing. We get scenes with friends (one of them an Ajith fan) and, alongside, two cops investigating a foul killing, but like Charles’s father, these characters could have been written out of the narrative and the film wouldn’t have turned out any differently. Much time is devoted to a comedy track involving a kid named Pappu and a bunch of students fond of reading Tamil porn novellas – this, to state the obvious, is not the diversion you want in what is essentially a supernatural mystery that revolves around Diana (Priyanka Reddy). It’s an encouraging sign that inexpensive digital cameras have opened the gates for young filmmakers to tell their stories, but technology can only help in the execution. The soul of a movie lies in something far more old-fashioned: a lot of time spent with some equivalent of pen and paper. If a butterfly flaps its wings in China, will Tamil cinema get better screenplay writers?
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