Sometimes, you will let yourself believe that things will change in the movies. And, when the opening shot of Chennai in Suseenthiran’s Nenjil Thunivirundhaal (the Telugu version is called c/o Surya) is not Chennai Central but a housing colony, hope floats. It continues to stay in the same zone while taking us into the badman’s den. He’s cooking in an all-male household, giving instructions to chop something smaller, even as a bunch of men wields knives with the same ease with which they carry on their ‘business’. And, finally, the title song ‘Aram Seyya Virumbu’ plays, you can’t but help wonder that the other release of the week goes by the same name!
There’s earnestness in the script — I can almost imagine why Sundeep and Vikranth signed up for it — but it tries too hard. There’s mention of usury, builders without a conscience, negligent doctors, friendship, love… at one level, you’re hoping they’ll tell you where the story is headed, so you can stop trying to connect the non-existent dots.
Suseenthiran’s films always begin well, and while some maintain the momentum, others flounder mid-way; Nenjil… belongs to the latter category. There’s much potential. You have a villain Duraipandi (a quietly menacing Harish Uthaman with a voice to swoon over) who kills with evidence, two friends devoted to each other, one of them with a grip so tight, it can crack a rib or two, a supportive cop, and no apparent motive for murder. But, when the reveal is made, you’re looking at your next seat neighbour in disbelief. Is this even reason enough for a murder?
Sundeep, who had a great role in the recent Maanagaram, tries his best to pep up the proceedings as protagonist Kumar, but there’s only so much he can do to rise above the script. Vikranth as Mahesh looks dapper, but there’s little heft to his character. Why does he get so angry? Some backstory would have helped, but no… Of the girls, Kumar’s sister, who’s planning to do an MS in cardiology, has some screen time. The house bears her nameboard; proof of her importance at home. Sundeep’s love interest is played by Mehreen Kaur Pirzada, an utterly forgettable character whose only ability seems to be hiding ‘bits’ in the folds of her sari during an examination! And yes, if that’s all she had to do, at least get the lip sync right.
A thriller, even a wannabe one like this, needs pacing. That means no songs (even if it’s a ‘Yachacha Yachacha’ that tells men not to blame women for heartbreak), no overly dramatic scenes involving the red-eyed mother (I’d prefer remembering the Thulasi of Pannayaarum Padminiyum!), no loose ends (whatever happened to the friendly cop?) and no comedy. Humour perhaps, but not comedy of the Soori kind. A father gets called in singular, an obese person is called Kutty Aanai, the wife is a virago. Before I could wish for anything better, my co-watchers laughed. Probably, they deserve this rubbish that masquerades as humour!
Composer Imman redeems himself well in both the songs and BGM, and the use of the sitar in the title song is particularly endearing. Cinematography by Laxman Kumar is lovely in places, especially the chase at night.
But, all of this falls flat in the face of bad execution. Suseenthiran has given us some lovely films, including Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu, Naan Mahaan Alla, Paandiya Naadu, Aadhalal Kadhal Seiveer, Azhagarsaamiyin Kudhirai and Jeeva. These have been interspersed with films that lacked focus. Somewhere inside Nenjil Thunivirundhaal is the Suseenthiran who made well-crafted films. He just needs to find his way back.
The Nenjil Thunivirundhaal 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.