STARRING: PRASANNA, SIBIRAJ, RAMYA RAJ, S.P.BALASUBRAHMANYAM, YASMIN
I ideally wouldn’t want to begin this analysis by stating that I actually liked this film, but having mentioned it all the same, I would hereby start by validating my stand, before which there’s a need to establish that I do know that this film is heavily borrowed (beyond denial) and it is despite that intricate fact that I liked it, not to mention certain other frown-inducing factors. And that is why my review should have two paragraphs of equal length before I get to conclude.
‘Naanayam’ is an actual film, and this is what makes it stand out, despite a handful of digressions in form of music tracks and a couple of clichés, here and there. Fair beginning, not overdone, a steady pace that quickens when needed, suspense elements that are only guessable when the writer wills it, (although there can always be a hunch) with an almost satisfying finish, the incompleteness arising out of the only thing that disconcerted me. The film is basic, pretty much what a fair thriller should be, focused more on narration speed than action, with the jigsaw fade-in-fade-out coming to be effective. The characters are introduced well, there is individual depth further reinforced by casting and voiceovers (in case of supporting artists) where the poorness of performance is fairly shielded. But I wouldn’t include the music score as part of my positives package, for I happen to be in a sort of fury against a certain James Vasanthan. A soundtrack is undoubtedly a combination of Original Score and music tracks and it wouldn’t be wise to call wise a performance that is only half-inclined. But needless to say, the background score works well, a tribute of sorts to yesteryear crime films and the work of Ilaiyaraaja in them, with the music direction in itself needing mention, for the man knows when to score and when to not. Acting performances are solid with the only negative serving to be the bridge between my paragraphs, a crude representation of the film itself.
Although I loved the distribution of them, I couldn’t bring myself to like the twists. I mean, sure (spoiler alerts, if needed to be sounded) ‘femme fatale’, appearances deceive, I can understand that there’s been a lot of Kim Basinger-Catherine Zeta Jones combo being lived here (not literally, though) and I can understand that the whole film revolved about that, but I can never understand how it can be intended to portray a woman in that way, solely to abuse and exploit, never to emote. And speaking of which, I thought Suchitra (voiceover for Ramya) needed equal (or more) mention, citing the fact that it was the voice that acted and not the body or there were two separate streams in which I chose the vocal path than an actress who looks to be below par. No, not even a physical acting mention for the ‘heroic’ sequence through the sensors, for that could easily have been duped, and I felt the show had to be where needed most. Also, as if the exploitative woman cannot get any lower, the casting of SPB didn’t work well with me. I mean, come on, there is a lot more at stake than just wealth, or am I the one who is criminally wrong? And, the music tracks, as mentioned. The melody number is disappointing on account of familiarity, while the rest aren’t worth a mention, and prodigy, if existent, needs a reminder.
I’ve kept my promise, although I have one more thing to say, in a neutralist way. The set-up looks far-fetched, beyond doubt. Professionalism is what is intended, but crude mimicry is what I reaped, and although I didn’t mind, I need to state that in cases like these, underplay works better than flamboyance and that needs to be understood. And also regarding the ‘ocean’ of similarities gossiped about, it is only natural that to defer would put one at a higher risk of screwing up than to subtly comply, which could actually even turn out like a tribute to the respective ‘inspirations’. And there’s nothing terribly bad about that, is there?
So, ‘Naanayam’ again, is what a film should be so as to even think about such a process as criticism, and once through, it only worked as much as it didn’t, thanks to a couple of bad casting instances and spoilers in form of music tracks. And that’s something that needs change, desperately.