Vikram Prabhu, Priya Anand, J. D. Chakravarthy
Running Time: 151 minutes
When I walk into a James Bond cinematic exploit, I know only too well that nothing ever that 007 does and experiences are real. They are never going to happen to you or me. But when I get into an Indian thriller, I am mid-way between heaven and earth. I am never sure that the feats of the hero can be far-fetched. But, that is what the script aims for – to keep you dangling between terra-firma and the clouds.Anand Shankar’s Arima Nambi is a cocktail of murder, political high-handedness and the travails of a gentleman with the strength of a lion. But I suppose most Indian film heroes are just that. In fact, Singham’s Ajay Devgn uses his palm the way a lion does its paw to crush the opponent.
In Arima Nambi, Arjun Krishna (Vikram Prabhu), an engineer at a car showroom, is no lion, but a gentleman – who is pushed by a series of inexplicable happenings to acquire the immense might of the beast. He is aided in this by a dying cop, who tells Krishna that most of the goondas in Chennai (where the movie unfolds) are experts at handling guns and knives, but terrible with their fists! The young engineer takes this advice to heart and knocks down tens of men with his bare hands, and one of them is the personal bodyguard of a Union Minister (played by Chakravarthy).
Arima Nambi begins in a pub, where Krishna accepts a bet from his friends that he will get the telephone number of one of the girls there, Anamika Raghunath (Priya Anand). Yawn, yawn. He succeeds, and after their first date, Anamika takes Krishna to her swanky flat (after all, her father is a big shot at a television channel), and the sozzled couple are just about to strip for sex, when a few men barge into the flat and kidnap the girl.
The guy, nursing his tipsy state and a day-old romance that has gone horribly wrong, staggers into a police station – where the cops give him exactly the kind of treatment that anyone will to a drunk. Thus begins the lion-man’s voyage into the unknown that is peppered with sheer acrobatics (look at the way he jumps across rooftops or from balconies, landing on the ground below with perfect ease), car chases and snooping around. When Krishna is not up to these, he is ducking bullets – and so what if a hail of them rat-a-tat out of sophisticated weapons. They never get the hero!
As much as Shankar’s work manages to retain a fair degree of thrill, much of the script is awfully silly. Logic is out, and the story is synonymous with fantasy. Imagine the entire police force of Chennai playing along with the Minister’s evil design. Surely, no force can be so dumb. Imagine a man going into such elaborate scheming (which involves ordering a policeman to shoot a suspect in a crowded mall) to cover his crime and nail Krishna. And imagine, Krishna and Anamika break into a song in a picture perfect locale with birds and waterfall and in the most resplendent of costumes bang in the middle of an agonisingly disturbing moment. Maybe, this was meant to be a short break, a relief with a syrupy song!
And, after this mindless romp, performances are passé. Chakravarthy looks stiffer than his starched clothes, and Anand has little written for her. Prabhu mercifully does not go overboard in a movie that is one long stretch of exaggerated nonsense.