Skip to main content

Nadunisi Naaigal: Curate's egg

Appeared in Expresso, the daily supplement of The New Indian Express, Bangalore on 21, February 2011

The one director in Kollywood who christens his movies in chaste Tamil, and focuses on themes that few self-proclaimed champions of that language would identify themselves with - Gowthaman Menon (it is a paradox that he is a Keralite) - is back at it again: a movie with a pure Tamil title, Nadunisi Naigal (dogs of the midnight), and an unorthodox movie subject, a psycho-thriller and child sexual abuse.

Nadunisi...builds suspense from the word go; the title credits open with a police inspector falling backwards in slow motion after being felled by a bullet on to a pool of rainwater in the dark. Three police personnel are shot dead and a girl goes missing from a hospital. A police inspector Vijay (Deva), starts investigating the crimes.

The scene later shifts to Samar, a boy who gets sexually abused by his father regularly (shades of Bharatirajaa’s Sighappu Rojakkal are impossible to miss), who, at times, even dreads entering his house. A neighbour, Meenakshi (Swapna Abraham), notices something amiss, and alerts the police, who while rescuing Samar, are forced to kill his father. Meenakshi, a single woman, decides to adopt Samar.

The narration is interspersed with footage of a man speaking to a camera, a la Robert De Niro in Righteous Kill, who describes his sexual exploits with attractive women, followed by their murders, in different mannerisms as he has been afflicted with multiple personality disorder. By the interval, chances are high that the viewer may break into a cold sweat, thanks to the gripping pace of the narrative, aided by the lack of songs.

However, a similar thread runs in Nadunisi… and two other recent movies that focused on the urban milieu – Yudham Sei and Easan: that of a meandering and predictable second half.

The portrayal of MPD in the movie has no novelty and seems to be a rehash of similar scenes from Anniyan and Chandramukhi.

On the portrayal of villains as sophisticated persons, Menon takes off from where he had left in his earlier movie, the Kamal Haasan-starrer Vettayadu Vilayadu. Swapna, Veera and Sameera Reddy (whose role deserves special mention) perform well.

Popular posts from this blog

Tamil Nadu’s Thala-Thalapathy conundrum

Chennai’s Fourth Estate at War

Touching upon competitive spirit, the legendary writer George Orwell, in an essay dated 1945, had described sport as war minus the shooting. He could very well be referring to the ongoing veiled battle between two of India's English dailies.

When “India’s national newspaper since 1878” and the “Largest read English daily in the world” decide to slug it out over Chennai’s newspaper readership, rest assured that the battle would spill over to the TV media, as was witnessed recently. Cheeky indeed were the ads that thumbed the nose at one another; though, few were in doubt over who the target was.

To the uninitiated, the two newspapers – The Hindu and The Times of India(TOI), respectively – have modus operandi that are as identical as chalk is to cheese, or uppu (salt) is to upma, a South Indian snack. The "war" in question is the race to get hold of the average Chennaiite, and eventually the Indian, newspaper reader’s attention.

And no, this piece of opinion isn’t about the…

7am arivu: Chennai-China Medley Falls Flat

Should ever a book titled ‘The Art of Deception by Flattery’ be authored, A R Murugadoss’ 7 am arivu (the seventh sense) would probably rank atop in its index; it could even be a case study on how to crash land viewers’ expectations after building it up to a crescendo.
The movie begins with a flashback, when we are told that a Pallava princeling (Surya) migrated to China and became the Shaolin master we know today as Bodhidharma. 
Cut to the present. Subha Srinivasan (Shruti Hasan – actor Kamal Hasan’s daughter making her Tamil debut) is a student of genetic engineering whose research causes the jitters to the People’s Republic of China, forcing them to send a spy, Dong Lee (Hollywood actor Johnny Nguyen, who was also a stunt double in Spiderman and Spiderman-2) to bump her off and spread an epidemic in India. (Are we taking a cue from Hollywood, which during the Cold War era vilified then USSR?) Thrown in the conundrum is Aravind (Surya again) a circus artiste, who falls head-over-hee…