Nadunisi Naaygal (Midnight Dogs)
Direction: Gautham Vasudev Menon
Cast: Veera Bahu and Sameera Reddy
Gautham Vasudev Menon returns to crime after his tryst with mushy romance, Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa. This time, his Nadunisi Naaygal (Midnight Dogs) is a psychological thriller about an abused boy who grows into a flesh and blood terror. Veera Bahu plays Veera, a hallucinating psychopath, almost to remarkable perfection in what could be his clinching debut. Sexually molested, physically abused and mentally tormented by his father, Veera becomes a warped person, who though saved by a kind woman, Meenakshi, remains in a state of severe psychological trauma. And as a young man, he develops such a Jekyll-and-Hyde personality that he fails to distinguish between what is
Despite great performances by the lead pair, including Sameera Reddy (Sukanya), who as one of Veera’s hapless preys is perhaps at her career’s best here, Nadunisi Naaygal falters over its script. Now, Menon had a good plot, but appears to have worked very little on his script. Here are the howlers. One, Meenakshi is a smart city-bred woman who does not even think that the boy of nine she rescued (and adopted) from such a debase life would require psychiatric counselling, or at least evaluation. Two, a passing car driver on a lonely stretch of road suspects something is amiss when he sees Veera taking an unconscious Sukanya in his SUV, follows them and plays the daredevil only to come to grief. What was his motive? Three, a similar action by a lone cop, who knows fully well that three of his colleagues have been murdered by Veera just a while ago. Four, two policemen arrest Veera and handcuff him, but seconds before he is asked to get into their van, they free his hands with disastrous consequences. Why would they do that? Five, Sukanya’s boyfriend is kidnapped by Veera from the lobby of a popular multiplex cinema, bang in the middle of Chennai, that looks unusually deserted. (Now I go to this theatre often, but have never found it so empty and lonely!) Surely, Menon could not have been so callous with his script, callous enough to turn blind to vitals details.
What is equally annoying is that Menon’s movie has been ripped off from several Hollywood blockbusters, including American Psycho, Hitchcock’s Psycho, Eyes Wide Shut and so on.
It is sad that Nadunisi Naaygal with a storyline powerful enough to deeply disturb a viewer (the horror gets into your bones) and with characters so finely fleshed out totters because of a shoddily penned script. Menon appears to have been so indifferent to a term called authenticity.