Siva Karthikeyan with Priya Anand Image Credit: Courtesy PRO Riaz Ahmad

“What’s in a name?” asked Shakespeare.

Plenty if it happens to be Kunjithapatham, the name of the lead character played by Siva Karthikeyan in the Tamil film Ethir Neechal.

The name becomes the butt of all jokes and gives the character an inferiority complex. Fed up of being made fun of, Kunjithapatham takes the advice of his friend Peter and goes for a name change.

Now, with his new identity — Harish — life is looking up for him. He finds a new job and even finds love with Geetha, (Priya Anand), a school teacher.

Just when all seems to be going great, the old name crops up again creating confusion and misunderstanding in his love life.

That’s when Kunjithapatham, sorry Harish, decides to participate in a marathon in order to prove himself to his lady love.

Ethir Neechal is not just about swimming against the tide for Kunjithapatham and winning his love; it also becomes a voice for championing the rights of Valli, (Nandita) his marathon coach and a wronged athlete in the politics of sports and ambition.

Siva Karthikeyan, who has proved himself in comedy roles, reveals his ability to take on serious roles. With him is Priya Anand. Nandita, last seen in Attakathi gets into the skin of Valli’s character with ease.

Dhanush, who has produced this film, makes an entry in a kuthu number with Nayanthara, adding to the commercial element of the story.

The first half of the film is filled with humour. After the interval the story of the underdog and the thrill of the marathon keeps viewers hooked. But it has a predictable ending.

Like Shakespeare wrote: “What’s in a name?” Kunjithapatham could not have agreed more.