For the more cynical movie-goers that have long claimed that the movie producing machine lacks originality, I offer one word into the counter argument – EEGA!
Eega, which had its Toronto premiere at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, is a wildly entertaining yarn hailing from India and director David Barlow-Krelina. At its core, Eega is a story about revenge. Nani is in love. His affection is towards neighbor Bindhu (Samantha Ruth Prabhu) who is smitten by Nani’s acts of fondness but keeps the love struck young man in a state dreamlike unfulfillment for two years.
Sudeep is the third character in the triangle. A rich and cocky businessman, Sudeep is accustomed to getting everything he wants and upon a chance meeting with Bindhu, he becomes obsessed in his desire to add Bindhu to his list of female conquers.
Standing in his way is Bindhu’s mutual attraction to Nani which when revealed to Sudeep becomes an easy resolve – kill Nani to eliminate the competition. Nani’s life will soon come to an abrupt end at the foot of Sudeep’s evil, but the story continues when Nani is reincarnated as a common housefly. Determined to win back the love of Bindhu and to exact revenge upon Sudeep for his sadistic self-serving actions, the fly will torment, plot and carry out a plan of revenge driving Sudeep into a state of madness.
Now, ok. I get it. You are likely reading the synopsis and wondering how the hell we could have used the words ‘wildly entertaining’ in our opening when the film’s story lends itself more to a Roger Corman styled effort. Add in mention that the film includes a song and dance number and I am sure that most audiences will either negate any chance of Eega being included on their must-watch list or deflect any interest at the first sign of Bollywood. But not so fast. After an opening few chapters that are required to establish the three main characters, Eega takes off like a bullet and is as funny and as enjoyable as maybe any film we have seen this year.
Any suggestion that a housefly is hardly a match for a human can be quickly eradicated as Nani the fly torments Sudeep not allowing him to sleep, drive or act in public with any sense of normality. Nani the fly is able to reveal his new form to Bindhu and in an act of fly-charades, Nani convinces Bindhu that the still-courting Sudeep is his murderer. The separated-by-death couple then work out an exaggerated but fully enjoyable plan to reciprocate the villainous action.
With an incredible musical score by M.M. Keeravani to accompany a cartoon-like adventure that reminded us of the work of Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle), Eega was easily the most original crowd-pleasing entry on our 2013 calendar. Over the top visuals and situations of incredibly gratifying ridiculousness will make Eega a cult classic and it is no surprise that the film is receiving red hot reviews while touring the festival circuit. The most gratifying intermission title card that we have ever seen helped send the Toronto audience into a rapturous state of applause and further highlighted the pleasurable taste of satisfaction that emanated throughout the theatre walls.
Eega effortlessly becomes a movie that we can champion as a must see. It’s as innovative and as unusual a film you are likely to see and, right now, sits among the better films of 2013.