Vijay Deverakonda-Anand Shankar’s NOTA

#NOTA is a cleverly planned commercial entertainer that relies heavily on the public outrage at the state of our political affairs. #AnandShankar uses the premise well by giving us a spin off of incidents that are only too fresh in the minds of the TN. Sometimes it’s just a dialogue here, a gesture there; the visible photos of the ‘above-all’ leader in the pockets, the eternally hunched yes-men. But it moves on to bigger incidents of which we get a version of what could have been done. Now, the thoughts are revolutionary all right, but practical? Not so much. But for the most time, it makes for good entertainment.

One thing is clear, #VijayDeverakonda is quite the star. His Tamil isn’t perfect but he gets the lip sync predominantly right. You can sense the uneasiness in his voice, similar to his struggle when he first wears a veshti. But Deverakonda pulls it off, his reaction shots are refreshingly raw and Anand uses this to his advantage. And Vijay gets quite the support from #Sathyaraj, #Nasser, and #MSBhaskar. It’s a delight to see our senior men get meaty roles and they pack quite a punch. #SanchanaNatrajan makes a neat debut. Her role could have been used better but I liked what she did with it. And boy how good it always feel to see women who are comfortable with the language on screen.

However, as a film, NOTA didn’t give me the gooseflesh as, say, Mudhalvan did. Two things, maybe it’s the cynic in me who realises that all this would make for good drama and nothing more. Second, the characters are inconsistent — too many changes in a very short span and some huge creative liberties diminish the impact of the content. There’s also too much to tackle. Anand tries to fit in everything. But there are some good ideas in NOTA that, had it been streamlined, would have made for a better agenda.

There were strong cheers and whistles for every political dig in the theatre, the names of leaders and their parties were called out as and when they’re picked on screen. The anger is apparent, it would be great if we remember this at the ballot box and not just the box office.

 

Keni movie review: A good plot let down by its execution

The basic premise of Keni is extremely intriguing. In a drought struck region on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border, there is one well that miraculously has water. In a re-survey conducted by the government, the state border shifts a bit causing the well to fall under Kerala, but the house it belongs to comes under Tamil Nadu’s jurisdiction. A tussle for water ensues, thanks to the trigger from owner Indira (Jayaprada). An order is levied that allows only Indira to use the water from the well within the jurisdiction that falls under the neighbouring state. (personally, it refuses to make sense). As the villages continue to suffer, Indira begins her struggle to make the water accessible to everyone. Further, the story unfurls through three journalists who each follow a different lead to the same story. The plot and the narrative device has so much scope to produce a hard-hitting rural drama. But Keni is nothing close to it. In fact, Keni is an example of well-meaning, good premises that don’t necessarily translate to good cinema. Continue reading “Keni movie review: A good plot let down by its execution”

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