No change, he says more cheerfully. Would I like something more instead? A pizza, perhaps? Fresh off the oven, he gestures.
Predictably, the theatre is empty too. And, a little cold. The usual pre-movie advertisements are screened as an after-thought, two couples wander in looking a little lost, and the third one heads right for back row with single-minded determination. A few last minute stragglers later, we are ready to go.
A day after watching Nee Naan Nizhal, there’s little residual disgust. But the bad after-taste lingers still; of a movie that could have been made well, granted its good intentions. The sick leer of the paedophile – and his lewd dialogues – remain fresh in memory. Not the lesson that the movie tries to forcefully bring home. Not the social message that it tries to impart.
But that sick leer.
Nee Naan Nizhal, an attempt to educate parents about the dangers that the Internet poses, comes perhaps at the right moment: when Kailash Satyarthi has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his Bachpan Bachao Aandolan. It probably might not be about trafficking, or child-labour as such, but it tries to raise awareness about an urban social evil all the same. Cyber-crime. One that involves children.
It tells the story of an unloved little girl who looks elsewhere for affection. She has a number of gadgets at her disposal though, discovers the World Wide Web, and eventually falls prey to the predators that lurk there.
Anwar Ali (Sarath Kumar) is an officer with the Malaysian Police who is investigating a series of murders. He taps into the social network accounts of the victims and finds a disturbing clue.
Ali has a family of his own; a teenaged daughter who is forever on the computer, and a burqua-clad wife who brings him tea. Quite distressed by the case he’s working on, Ali returns home one night, and rebukes his wife. Are you monitoring her activities at all, he questions, gesturing at their daughter.
Nee Naan Nizhal, for all its good intentions, is a little preachy.
But woven into this fabric of crime, is also contradictory love track. Between a 17-year-old girl and a 22-year-old man. It knocks the movie down several notches, a relationship that blossoms on the internet, nonetheless: conversations flash on screen for a good 20 minutes, offset by a jarring Tamil translation as a voice-over. There’s even a song for every situation.
Also, an animation sequence.
Of a man molesting a child.
And that’s when I realise it takes great skill to sensitize the audience to an evil such as this.
It was clearly one of those moments when a visual metaphor would have just sufficed.
The Nee Naan Nizhal Review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have an advertising relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.