Por movie review: Bejoy Nambiar packs in too many issues, trips on his ambition - Hindustan Times

Por movie review: Bejoy Nambiar packs in too many issues, trips on his own ambition

Mar 01, 2024 05:38 PM IST

Por movie review: Bejoy Nambiar's return to Tamil cinema doesn’t have the spunk of Arjun Das, nor the fury of Kalidas Jayaram to keep us engaged and invested.

Por movie review: College life is typically filled with friendships, fun, college fests and the yes, the friendly ragging that seniors and juniors engage in. But college also sees the development of enmity between different gangs, and juniors and seniors. That’s also an inherent part of life on campus and this is what director Bejoy Nambiar focuses on in his film Por. (Also Read – Kaala review: Intelligence has left the building in Bejoy Nambiar's new series overstuffed with hollow style)

Por movie review: Bejoy Nambiar bites more than what he can chew
Por movie review: Bejoy Nambiar bites more than what he can chew

What's Por about?

Happy-go-lucky Yuva (Kalidas Jayaram) joins St Martins College only to discover that his senior Prabhu (Arjun Das) from Sunbeam boarding school is his super senior here as well. The unexpected meeting fuels his anger and he promises to take his revenge on Prabhu in time. We also meet their friends in college – Gayatri (TJ Bhanu), who is an activist and runs Kural (Voice); Vennila, who is also part of Kural; and Surya, who is a politician’s daughter and has political ambitions. There is actor Sanchana Natarajan too, who is part of the group.

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All of them are friends and yet have complicated relationships amongst themselves. While Vennila and Surya are romantically involved, they are also political rivals as they both stand for elections on campus for the post of general secretary. Prabhu hangs around on campus not completing his arrears and also because of his interest in Gayatri. Meanwhile, Yuva is attracted to Sanchana Natarajan’s character and they hook up. Yuva and Prabhu remain at loggerheads, but it’s at the time of the college festival that a massive fight breaks out, causing chaos and mayhem. Why does Yuva hate Prabhu? What happens eventually between all of them thanks to their diverse ambitions?

Bejoy Nambiar, who has assisted director Mani Ratnam, returns to Tamil cinema after some years now. He has directed films like Shaitan, David, Wazir and Solo, and is now back with a college campus story that revolves around two guys. Por doesn’t just showcase their rivalry, but includes numerous other themes that run parallel to the story. For instance, Vennila comes from a lower caste and caste discrimination is highlighted. Vennila and Surya are in a same sex relationship so the LGBTQI+ theme is brought in too. There is the issue of child sexual assault in a character’s backstory, as well as the dark underbelly of the world of politics that spills onto the campus. Was the director perhaps over ambitious in trying in to tie in so many social issues into a tale of two men? Definitely.

How is Por?

The movie storyline may have some novel factors but it’s a campus tale that has been told many times, and often far better. There are too many characters that are involved in the story, and this dilutes the essence of the film. While there is a need for a por (war or fight) in all the themes the film shows glimpses of, not one fight shows them being victorious over an issue.

With regard to performances, Arjun Das, Kalidas Jayaram (who is seen in a new beefed-up avatar), and Sanchana Natarajan deliver the goods. The music by Sid Sriram uses new-age sounds and rhythms, keeping in line with the college theme.

Por is a film that goes down fighting to win over the audience with its youth story. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t have the spunk of Arjun Das nor the fury of Kalidas Jayaram to keep us engaged and invested.

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