Film: "Nee Enge En Anbe"; Cast: Nayantara, Vaibhav Reddy, Pasupathy, Harshvardhan Rane and Naresh; Director: Sekhar Kammula; Rating: ***
Sekhar Kammula, known for churning out light-hearted campus love stories, treads a path no other filmmaker would dare to walk on. In this process, he attempts to prove himself in a genre one could never imagine to see him make films in.
Although he struggles to emerge victorious on the chosen path, he makes us take notice his willingness to go against the grain with the Tamil remake of Bollywood film "Kahaani", titled "Ne Enge En Anbe". This is not a solid remake of one of the best thrillers in Indian cinema, yet there are moments that will persuade you to watch it.
You know for a fact that Kammula never tried to capitalize on the success of "Kahaani" because he decided not to include the pregnancy part in his story, but he still manages to surprise viewers with something equally unpredictable (as long as you don't pay attention to details).
There isn't much change in the story and akin to the original, a wife (Tamil Brahmin) lands in Hyderabad in search of her missing husband with whom she hasn't spoken to in over two weeks. She seeks the help of a local policeman, who also happens to be a Tamilian, because she can't speak Telugu.
They start investigating the case, trying to put all possible clues together to see if they can find something solid that will reveal what had happened with her husband. Will they or will they not find her husband?
Kammula was hell bent on convincing us that his version of the film is not a frame-to-frame copy of the original. It isn't for most part of the film, but all those who watched "Kahaani" are likely to be disappointed because the names of most characters are not changed in the remake. The senior police officer is Khan, the terrorist is Milan Damji and the assassin is Bob.
Whenever you hear these names in the remake, you automatically tend to compare these characters with the ones from the original and realize their performances were not satisfying. No matter how hard you try not to compare both the films, you are forced to whenever you hear these names.
Old Hyderabad becomes a crucial character in the story. Kammula does his best to capture the flavour of the local culture when his lens zooms through the small alleys of the city, from the preparations of a Durga Puja to the busy and densely populated markee.
Here's where you respect and appreciate the craftsmanship of the director for making the best use of his setting and making us realize the importance of the location from the story's perspective.
Another reason to commend Kammula is because he ensures that most of the important scenes are shot separately in Tamil. However, he seems to have ignored the fact that it's a Tamil film and has used too many Telugu dialogues, much to the disgust of the audience.
Subtitles were only used for the Hindi dialogues. How can you expect Tamil audiences to understand Telugu dialogues even though the film is shot in Hyderabad? This was one of the biggest turn-offs in the film.
Nayantara as Anamika does her best in the titular role, but she's no match to Vidya Balan. Here's a woman who is struggling to find her husband in a new place with a language barrier, yet we see her with make-up and eyelashes in close up shots. She fails to get into the skin of her character which was very important for the story. Vaibhav and Pasupathy play their parts well but the fake English accent used by the latter could've been avoided.
Keeravani's resonating background score keeps the tension of the story alive throughout. The slow first half is strongly complemented by a solid second half, but will audiences sit through the second half after a dull start?
"Nee Enge En Anbea fails to be a mother of an adaptation.