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Gautaman Bhaskaran’s Review: Naan Mahaan Alla

regional-movies Updated: Aug 24, 2010 19:14 IST
Gautaman Bhaskaran
Gautaman Bhaskaran
Hindustan Times
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Naan Mahaan Alla

Cast: Karthi, Kajal Aggarwal and Jayaprakash

Director: Suseenthiran

Rating: * ½

Director Suseenthiran shifts his focus to a city with his latest Tamil film, Naan Mahaan Alla (I Am Not Noble), after his tryst with village rivalries taking off from a game of Kabadi in Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu. Popularly acclaimed and with modest critical success, the movie must have emboldened the helmer to shift his attention to the more challenging environs of a city like Chennai with its soaring crime graph, drug addiction and a venomous underbelly.

Gautaman Bhaskaran
Gautaman Bhaskaran
Karthi’s Jeeva has a heart of gold that gets him the pink slip in his bank job as he melts to the sob stories of debtors. His honesty gets him his Priya (Kajal Aggarwal) all right, but irks her lawyer father when he hears of Jeeva’s unimpressive background. Son of a call-cab driver (essayed admirably by Jayaprakash) and living in rented accommodation (in a country where owing property has become a huge status symbol rather than fulfillment of a necessity), Jeeva is not exactly husband material for any parent.

However, Suseenthiran’s plot has a more serious issue to tackle. When Jeeva’s father is murdered in cold blood, the young man’s beguiling innocence takes a mighty battering. But, here the script begins to flounder with Suseenthiran impatiently resorting to shortcuts (read crowd pulling punches delivered by Karthi) and unrealistic coincidences. Peppered with implausible situations (imagine the killers identifying the cab driver in a metropolis that has thousands of his ilk), the plot nosedives. Obviously, the writer-director had made up his mind to push the narrative in a direction, and he could not care less how did this. Worse, the climax sends out a highly questionable message!

Also, there seems to have been a desperate effort to give Karthi an image makeover – to convert him into yet another toughie. My point is, how many Suryas and Ajiths can Tamil cinema take, groaning as it already is under their muscled machismo. Do we need to make Karthi another Surya or Ajith? Can we not let him be Karthi, that charmingly innocent guy?

It is still too early to grade Karthi’s acting ability, but if he has to develop as a performer (rather than a star), he needs to work on his mannerisms. For instance, his sideway glance is becoming boringly irritating, and he seems to wear his rusticity on his sleeve. However, he does manage in “Naan Mahaan Ala” to strike a warm chemistry with Kajal, who is interesting, given her freshness.

Be that as it may, Tamil cinema seriously needs to probe different kinds of subjects (we saw that in Kalavani, Angadi Theru and the like) if it were to continue attracting its audiences.