Tamil Reviews

Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren: How Not To Waste Two Hours

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There’s a lot you can do in two hours and 20-odd minutes. But, don’t end up doing what I did. Watch a movie that’s not just an insult to your intelligence but also ends up hurting you — not using an actor as talented as Vijay Sethupathi amounts to nothing short of hurt.

Watching a bad movie is different from watching a movie that could have been great — think a wacky black comedy with sparkling performances. Instead, you get middling action, terrible lines that double up as bad humour, and actors who look like they knew the fate of the film even while they were shooting it.

I understand the director’s intention. Imagine the premise.

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A community of non-violent thieves that lives in the middle of a forest in Andhra Pradesh (Yamasingapuram; of course, the hero is called Yaman, and the community worships the Lord of Death), a girl who gets abducted without much fuss, a boy who takes on the role that is normally given to the heroine in a commercial movie {Hint: there’s no character graph}, and actors with decent comic timing.

We get some totally strange humour, and that’s putting it mildly. Bears apparently love raping single men in the forest. In one fell swoop, the poor animals got called names, with no way to defend themselves. A ‘true man’ is supposed to be the one who takes girls on long drives and then invites them to drink. A red-hot arrow that strikes someone’s backside is supposed to make people laugh. Everyone plays on the title to elicit a laugh. Try as you do, it never obliges. There are snatches of possibility, though. In a hat tip to Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom, Gautham Karthik’s character Harish repeats a sentence about the heroine getting abducted. And, Vijay Sethupathi tries very hard to rise above the ordinary lines. Seeing him with Gayathrie, his NKPK heroine adds to the déjà vu. The presence of Ramesh Thilak, Daniel Annie Pope and Rajkumar is supposed to make you laugh, but how long can you laugh over people getting beaten up or beating others?

Director Arumuga Kumar aimed for over-the-top humour but landed with hysterically unfunny sequences. Viji Chandrasekhar as a dominating mother could have been a riot; she stops with speaking some Tamizh, Telugu and a strange dialect, and rolling her eyes.

Speaking of language, either the director presumes the audience understands Telugu, or has such faith that the dialogues are redundant in the understanding of the movie. Quite a few scenes in the second half feature Telugu, including a lovely throwback to the Gharana Mogudu ditty ‘O Paapa, O Paapa’, that featured some groovy moves by Chiranjeevi. Mention must be made of composer Justin Prabhakaran’s work in a few scenes that totally did not deserve that kind of score.

As for the storyline, it’s what we have seen on Tamil screens for decades. The uncle rushes in to abduct his niece (Niharika Konidela) who was betrothed to him as a child. There’s a twist, only by that time you stop caring. The credits roll, and then, it happens, that moment when the audience unanimously says something. When Vijay’s character on screen speaks about a sequel, the reply came from the hall. “Vendaaaaaam.” Two girls playfully hit the friend who dragged them along to watch a movie of her favourite hero. And, I made a mental note to go back and watch some other movie featuring the lead actor to feel better.

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He has that ability, you know. It’s just not visible in this film.

***

The Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solraen 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 any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

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