Saturday, August 21

Naan Mahaan Alla

Movie - Naan Mahaan Alla (Tamil)
Director - Suseenthiran
Producer - KE Gnanavelraja, Cloud Nine Movies
Cast - Karthi, Kajal Agarwal, Jayaprakash, Soori. 
Music - Yuvan Shankar Raja
Cinematography - Madhie
Art - Rajeevan
Editor - Kasi Viswanath
Story, Screenplay - Suseenthiran
Dialogues - Baskar Sakthi
Stunts - Anal Arasu
Release Date - 20th August 2010

Suseenthiran, who made a fantastic debut with Vennila Kabaddi Kuzhu last year returns with Naan Mahaan Alla in a much more bigger canvas. From the village milieu in VKK, he has shifted to namma Chennai in NMA. The story is no great shakes as we've seen the same story several times before. But it is Suseenthiran's screenplay, packaging and treatment of the age-old story that makes this movie effective. This film's genre is diametrically opposite to Suseenthiran's first film and he has proved that he is a versatile director by tackling both these genres with equal precision. 

Jeeva (Karthi) is a charming, unemployed, happy-go-lucky young guy and he is very happy with his own world consisting of his family and close friends. He meets the beautiful Priya (Kajal Agarwal) at his friend's Sudha's wedding and immediately falls for her. Priya also finds it hard not to fall for Jeeva's charm. And by the time some lovely scenes and Yuvan's trippy song 'Iragai Pole' get over, Jeeva and Priya fall in love with each other. In the meanwhile, at some other part of the city, there are a bunch of college students who are into criminal activities like rape and murder. The body parts of a young girl and boy are found at the city waste dump by the police soon after. Things take a drastic change when Jeeva's father (Jayaprakash) gets murdered by the same gang. The rest of the film is about Jeeva's quest to find his father's killers. 

The first half of the movie proceeds like a lovely romantic comedy and the second half develops into a full on revenge drama. The romantic portions between Karthi and Kajal are a treat to watch, especially due to their crackling on-screen chemistry. The camaraderie between Karthi and his loving dad Jayaprakash is also endearing. The scenes where Karthi goes to different houses as a loan collection agent are a riot. The villains are ruthless rapists and murderers and it is tough to believe that 18-19 year old college going students can turn into such cold-blooded murderers. But Suseenthiran makes us believe so through the scenes involving those guys. The climax seemed like it was a little hurried and leaves many loose ends. But no complaints, since it involved some eye-popping action sequences which were shot amazingly. The dialogues by Baskar Sakthi are witty and as real as dialogues can get. On the flipside, the violence is a little gruesome and may be turn-off for the family audience. 

Karthi is a sure-shot superstar. I've said this before in my Paiyya review. But in this movie, he goes a step further. If Paiyya showed him playing an urban hero for the first time, NMA follows it up brilliantly, with Karthi playing a charming, lovable Chennai guy yet again. In each scene, Karthi proves that he's a great actor who has got fantastic star-appeal as well. His screen presence is unbelievable. And in this movie, we get to see two different shades of him. The fun, comic and romantic hero in the first half turns into an intense action hero towards the climax. And he excels in all of them. If he goes on at this rate, he will become as big a star as his own brother in no time. (Where as his brother Suriya had to struggle more than 7-8 years to become the big star that he is today). 

Kajal is lovely in the film. Her cute looks and bubbly nature helped a lot in making the romantic scenes in the first half endearing. She performs effortlessly during the comic scenes as well, which is very rare among north-indian imports in Tamil cinema. Kajal finally makes a mark in Tamil through this movie. Jeyaprakash is slowly turning into an excellent character actor. The actor who impressed everyone through Pasanga last year, plays the loving dad to Karthi and his performance is so real that you feel they are actually father and son. Soori, the parotta guy from Vennila Kabaddi Kuzhu is fabulous as Karthi's friend. The goonda friend of Karthi also plays his part well. The gang of villains, led by the new guy Vinoth (who played the young Surya in Nandhaa) are quite successfull in sending a chill down your spine each time they come on screen. 

The cinematography by Madhie and art direction by Rajeevan go hand in hand and gives us the effect of actually being there in the midst of the events, especially in the claustrophobic space of Jeeva's house and the Tsunami affected houses in the climax. Yuvan as usual, does a kickass job with the music of the film. The movie has only 3 songs of which the brilliant 'Iragai Pole' whcih showcases the Jeeva and Priya's love story, stands out as the best. Yuvan also gives a killer background score which comes into own in the climax. Stunts by Anal Arasu are sure to get wolf whistles from action lovers and diverts the attention from a weakly written end to a good screenplay. 

NMA works because of Suseenthiran's effective story-telling and Karthi's amazing presence. The great music, stunts, art work, cinematography and dialogues add on to the impact making NMA one of the best entertainers in recent times. If the writer-director had given some more thought to the climax of the film, he would have had a flawless entertainer in his hands. But as i said earlier, the stunts more than make up for the slightly weaker climax (compared to the rest of the film). Go for Naan Mahaan Alla, it is guaranteed that you will be engaged and entertained throughout its length. And yea, there's the sleek teaser of Venkat Prabhu's 'Mangaatha' starring Ajith and Nagarjuna added to the print of NMA as an extra bonus. 

Rating - 3.5/5

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