Monday, February 21, 2011

Nadunisi Naiygal

This movie is not a psychological thriller. That is because it is not a thriller at all. Outside of a few screenplay linearity tricks - there was no doubt in anybody's mind as to how the movie would end. Barring a few minutes here and there there was no edge-of-the-seat feeling. There weren't that many moments where one wanted to eagerly find out 'whats next?'. This aspect alone took away an important pillar that could have helped the movie stand up and walk. It reduced the movie to just being a sad, dark story instead of a suspenseful, entertaining, sad dark story. Given that Gautham has already segmented his audience to a small group of people who are up for 'experimental' hollywood-thriller-like movie - he does himself no favors by not making the movie interesting. In effect this has reduced his credibility. I am not sure I can trust him to do a good movie when he comes out and tells his fans that he is not compromising and wants to the movie the way he wants.

When Manirathnam did Iruvar and Kamal Hasan did Guna/Hey Ram - they were probably under no illusion about its commercial risk. It was their vacation to do what they wanted to do. Sort of a license they earned to make their best creative work ever. And they didn't waste that vacation. They made master pieces. The mass audience may not have liked those movie but their fans longing for that out-of-the-ordinary-movie did. They become cult movies. Gautham has wasted that wild-card. That license-to-do-anything has been used to do less interesting stuff. We indulged in him and while he didn't necessarily make a bad movie - he has settled for a low bar. Infact he has misunderstood "no compromises" to mean "I'll only include what people will never like" as opposed to "I am sure people will like this and I will defy the producers and distributors to prove it"

On the specifics of Nadunisi Naigal - I am hoping the 'psychological' in "psychologial thriller" doesn't just mean showing a person with mental problems to be a killer. It doesn't mean everything from hallucination to schizophrenia to child abuse must be thrown in. So much time has been wasted in describing the killer's early life and so little time describing his actual transformation into this monster. Incest rarely works in thamizh movies. Mostly because its a hard subject matter to handle. Outside of incest - I didn't think the adult scenes were classyly done. People with masks looked funny more than scary. And making the audience squeamish surely involves something more than putting hardcore stuff on screen. As to why his guardian would not report Veera's wrong doings to the police is beyond me. In Madras, Veera's house looks unrealistic. Hard to imagine he didn't have neighbors. Lastly Gautham fails where all modern thamzh movie directors fail. In showing a super edge-case scenario to be something that normally happens in day-to-day life. Mindless bimbo females who fall for just about any guy is probably more common. But how many child-abuse-nut-case-schizophrenic-serial-killers are there in this world? Shouldn't the director spend time context-setting the fact that he is going to tell a very unusual story.

It breaks my heart to diss a Gautham Menon film. But this was a let down.


MLC said...

ttl let dwn by GVM!! adhuvum naanga 1st 10-15 mts dhaan paathoam.. adhukapram enuf is enuf nu nenachi, 'indha alavu distrbing-a oru padam paakanum nu avasiyamey illai' nu the purushan jst dragged me out of the theatre & we wnt to AMC nxt dr & watchd 'unknown'!! i'm so glad we did tht!!

Raghu said...

I didn't get that feeling when we walked out of the theater on Sat eve, after hearing your brief feedback.

However I know your 'serious-movie-watcher' mind was still chewing the various portions of the movie and when you actually sit down to scribe this post, u will be unbiased and objective.

Total letdown n a diss-ful end-product from GVM and his creative team. I disliked the movie in its entirety but haven't lost faith in GVM's creative mind !!

To compare this with Sigappu Rojakkal (that movie has stood the test of time as a cult classic in that genre - Bharathiraja was way ahead of his times, in dishing this out as his 3rd movie in his career !!) is nothing short of an insult and slap on the face.

U nailed this review :) !!

Maatuponnu said...

I heard far worse reviews from others who had watched it, you were super gentle! The thing with GVM is his indulgence. Now I don't give a damn if he wants to make movies about Mallu ex-girlfriends who liked math, but I am kind of going to give Nadunisi a miss. Indulgent movies with colorful songs are one thing, this seems just disturbing, and not in a good way.The criticism on BR was kinda harsh, don't you think :)At least he's a better critic than the four letter word guy.

Hawkeye said...


i want to watch 'unknown' - i hope you liked it.


On saturday - I didnt/don't share the extent of criticism you had on the movie - on a relative scale. For example if given a choice b/w endhiran and this movie - i would choose this movie anyday. you may not.


Sometimes you want directors who indulge. It actually gives us a chance to see something original. if something interesting may come out of it. I deleted the part about BR only because I wanted to write a separate post on that. And because it was not relevant in this post. I still believe what I wrote about him. His MMA review was utter nonsense. BR is better than the TFLW guy - i agree. But his flowery english does not make up for his obvious lack of understanding of thamizh movies or his bias.

Anonymous said...

I haven't watched the movie. May be I would watch it in a DVD and not in theater.

"When Manirathnam did Iruvar and
Kamal Hasan did Guna/Hey Ram.And they didn't waste that vacation"

Well said...

- badri.

Alagappan said...

Exactly my thoughts after watching the movie. Well said.

MLC said...

hawkeye, 'unknwn' was similar to 'bourne I'.. aana the lattr scored b'coz of the pace... still a gd watch.

Venkat said...

superb review, nethi adi..

Anonymous said...

"It breaks my heart to diss a Gautham Menon film" - LOL you sound so gay

Sreekrishnan said...

ha, wrote a review and came to your blog. I agree with that second paragraph. you get only one chance to do such stuff - if you do it good - you win. Illati busss !

wasnt a complete let down for me - i loved the attempt and it wasnt bad either. It wasnt just good enough !

Anonymous said...

how about a review on Aadukalam?

Alan Smithee said...

Isn't Sindhusamaveli also an incest based story? I thought that movie was appreciated quite well and generated equal amounts of controversy.

I said...

FIL-DIL matter is not incest, technically, no?

Sreekrishnan said...

I, No it is not. just in the illegal affair zone ! vera ratham and lineage !

Anonymous said...

I(murungakka) shut down his blog. Why like that?

Tyler Durden said...

Gautham Menon should consider himself extremely lucky that he still has fans who get disappointed when he makes a bad movie. Apart from the unquestionably well-done "kaakka kaakka" and the slightly better "minnale", what exactly is Gautham Menon's claim to fame?

As an aside, did you get a chance to check out "Sherlock", the BBC show? As an ACD fan, I was thrilled watching the first episode and going crazy over the little references. As an ACD nut, I expect you would spontaneously combust.

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Arun Sundar said...

Hence I'm not watching this movie :)

And I saar,
murungakka blog enna aachu?!

Asura said...

"I deleted the part about BR only because I wanted to write a separate post on that. And because it was not relevant in this post. I still believe what I wrote about him. His MMA review was utter nonsense. BR is better than the TFLW guy - i agree. But his flowery english does not make up for his obvious lack of understanding of thamizh movies or his bias.

Jealous eh? It is obvious that a lot of so-called film reviewers can only dream of writing as well as BR. And by the way, his writing is'nt "flowery", it is just good English. However if you are used to sub-standard online reviews in sites like rediff or sify or other dime-a-dozen blog reviews I can understand why you find his language flowery. But that's how good writing is supposed to be. And that has nothing much to do with his "understanding of thamizh movies", as he grew up on those films. If anything, agree or disagree, his reviews are far more insightful than the average Joe reviews that you read in other blogs

Anonymous said...

So Hawky you claim to have better understanding of tamil cinema than BR?

You are highly opinionated on so many stuffs, so shud I say your assertion does not make up for your lack of understanding of that matter?!

Padawan said...

@Anon: Reg - "So Hawky you claim to have better understanding of tamil cinema than BR?"

I do not think he is making a claim that he understands tamil cinema better than BR. BTW, what on earth is understanding tamil cinema mean? Or, is BR's understanding of tamil cinema a standard that nobody else can achieve or surpass? I just do not get it. I think he just says that he disagrees with BR's review and trust me there are zillion people who disagree with his review of certain movies.

Asura said...

"I think he just says that he disagrees with BR's review"

No, he didnt just say that. He also said that BR has "an obvious lack of understanding of Tamil films". Learn to read.

Ganesh said...

Well said - In fact, m not sure if u wud agree but i felt Anniyan was more of the 'thriller' genre. People knew what the story was and the director was intelligent enough to break it open just before interval. Thats where Shankar (and his ability to extract from Sujatha) strikes. Just after the Nokia song for eg. as soon as the first disorder breaks out ... people know whats happening ... but the diro is intelligent enough to shift gears on to the acting prowess of Vikram and the core issue revolving corruption and she being his girl ... rather than trying to build up the tension to the scene through his syche ... same with the Prakash Raj beating up scene ... and same with the "Katcheri confirmed" scene .... and the climax (final scene). MAke enough diversions to get the public off the hook, and in the meantime get the cliche covered up intelligently.
Anniyan was close to 3 hrs and NN roughly 2 hrs. Whatever be his reason to avoid BGM (i have my guesses on budget ... leave GVM and theres no one else BIG in the cast/crew) ... Screenplay is THE most important portion of a movie ... otherwise I would rather read a book. Both VA and VTV were sluggish. Gautham needs to improve his screenplay.