Review: Detective Naani is a tad sluggish

Review: Detective Naani is a tad sluggish

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Friday 22 May 2009

Movie Title

Review: Detective Naani is a tad sluggish


Romilla Mukherjee

Star Cast

Ava Mukherji, Ankur Nayyar, Hemu Adhikari and Atul Parchure

It`s the cutest title to a film in a long time. The film could`ve been just as adorable had debut director Romilla Mukherjee focused just on the Naani and kept the mood light-hearted.

One of the strongest flaws of Detective Naani is the expectation it builds up - that of a comedy featuring an affable naani who outsmarts everyone to the viewers` applause. Partially true; it`s just that Naani outsmarts the bad guys who don`t deal with silly crimes. Here, the villains are smartly dressed folks who deal in child trafficking - kidnapping kids from backward areas and selling them. Gulp, did you just choke on your popcorn? I know I did, when the film turned out this grave. Honestly, the film`s promos didn`t prepare me for this.

Still, the lady-in-charge (Ava Mukherji) is so cool, you`re drawn in the goings on. Naani is the kind who could almost twist the vegetable seller`s ears when she catches the magnet under the weighing scales. She`s the society`s darling, but her suspicions about a particular family are rubbished and attributed to old age. Naani`s daughter Priya (Amrita Saluja) who is divorced and a working professional, often leaves her tiny tot with the granny. Priya also forms a support system for Naani, hearing out all her theories patiently and helping out where she can. Naani`s son however would rather just leave his kid at Naani`s doorstep, refusing to come inside.

Still, the independent Naani who keeps two fridges (one for the kids) in her lovely apartment doesn`t mind. She`s too busy keeping an eye on the Yadavs, in whose apartment she spots a frightened pair of eyes peeping through the window. One night she hears a thud and sees a dead body; in an instant it`s gone. The neighbours disbelieve as usual. Dude cop (Ankur Nayar) who has a crush on Priya assists Naani on the case. Yup, she`s the one in the forefront.

The story`s endearing without doubt. What spoils it is the painfully slow pace and bland twists and turns including mysterious murders, clues, and a miraculous ending. Clues are hugely important in any detective story; here they comprise some drab details that are not at all exciting. Then there is the suspense, which too, is missing. Comedy is present here and there, but one expects more from a film that has such a fun title. One wonders also, the need to add superfluous characters and a predictable romance that starts in an online chat room (the most boring portions).

Ava Mukherjee is delightful as the alert and shrewd Naani who could hoodwink any baddie. The rest of the cast is competent. Child actors are angelic. Songs are pleasing with some interesting lyrics by producer-director Romilla Mukherjee, who incidentally is also Ava`s daughter.

With the pace faster and more excitement, Detective Naani would have been a must-watch. One recommends it only for the paucity of films that would appeal to children and adults alike. Detective Naani may be sluggish and somber in parts, but it sure beats other `kids` films that have animated item numbers.

Verdict: Two stars

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