Film: 'Nadunisi Naaygal'; Cast: Sameera Reddy, Veera, Ashwin and others; Director: Gautham Vasudev Menon; Producer: Photon Kathaas; Cinematography: Manoj Paramhamsa; Editor: Antony; Art Director: Rajeevan; Rating: ** 1/2
Menon, who floated his own production house Photon Kathaas, is out with his first venture as a producer. 'Nadunisi Naaygal', a psycho-thriller, is directed by Menon himself. The film has no big star, except Sameera Reddy, music, songs or picturesque locations and is certainly a bold step by the director.
Trade sources are amazed at the opening the film has managed to receive, but 'Nadunisi Naaygal' is not Menon's best work.
Samar aka Veera (Veera) transforms into a deadly psycho-killer because of his womanizing father's sexual exploitation during his childhood. It's not something we haven't seen earlier and it's not wrong on our part to have expected Menon to do a better job in depicting this. The childhood days of Veera are handled immaturedly.
The Southern film industry has witnessed erring and immoral fathers on screen earlier but they way Menon's film shows Veera's father indulging in 'orgy' and making his own son a 'sex-worker' defy logic. The base for Veera's supposedly 'psycho' avatar is so weak that the rest of the sequences fail to make a lasting impact on viewers.
Samar's 'forced act' with the neighbouring girl Meenakshi (Meenakshi), who redeems him from the hell, is shocking. But it is hardly convincing to see her helping Samar even after seeing his violent behaviour. She even becomes victim of his behaviour still she doesn't want to treat him but help him lead a 'normal' life.
There are many questions are answered such as - What is Meenakshi's background? How does she have an imposing house in Chennai? How Veera is able to carry out all the crimes without anyone's help? How does he create a mechanism to put the corpses? How does he get pistols?
Menon doesn't bother to address these questions.
Samar's abduction of Sukanya (Sameera) and the subsequent events move at a breezy pace. The way Meenakshi's 'presence' has been shown in the house is laudable. Antony's slick editing makes the movie move faster.
Veera, an erstwhile assistant director of Menon, has done a good job as an actor as he shuttles with equal ease as Samar and Veera.
His portrayal is convincing and one cannot say that this is his first film. Sameera is perfect as she brings out the pain and agony of a woman subjected to physical and mental torture.
The actor playing police officer could have acted better. Meenakshi has done a wonderful job, especially after the accident.
Manoj's cinematography is great especially because the maximum film is shot during night. However, the usage of cliched top angle shots to show mentally disturbed person is irritating. Menon's courage to avoid songs and background score is noteworthy.
The filmmaker's concern for increasing sex-related crimes against women and children are reflected by the psychiatrist and in the message at the end. But the concern doesn't translate into a engrossing film as Menon has failed because of the weak screenplay.
Despite having some engrossing moments 'Nadunisi Naaygal' turns out to be an unimpressive show, as it is neither convincing nor appealing.