'Nagaram', starring Sundeep Kishan, Shri, Regina and others, hits the screens on March 10. Here is our review.
The story of 'Nagaram' essentially revolves around four characters, played by Sundeep Kishan, Shri, Munishkanth and Charlie.
Shri is a no-nonsense youngster from a small town, who recently relocated to Chennai (for unstated reasons, the city is referred to as Madras throughout the movie) for an IT job.
Sundeep Kishan, a brave and brawny young man with a bleeding heart (otherwise, he is deemed irresponsible and stupidly aggressive by the people in his life), knows only one job: to admire and woo Regina Cassandra, a HR personnel in the IT company where Shri wants to land a job.
The other equally important characters are a migrant taxi driver (played by Charlie), who has come to the city for the treatment of his ailing son, and who believes that the society is only as good as we are to it.
Somewhere, a group of three goondas field a bumbling Munishkanth to kidnap a child, but the latter ends up kidnapping the son of a dreaded don (played by Madhusudhanan).
This wrong kidnap by Munishkanth, Sundeep's decision to teach an acid-attacker a lesson, Shri's sheer bad luck in the new place and Charlie's tryst with the don - all trigger a chain of intriguing events.
Writer-director Lokesh does not make a fuss about introducing the characters as this or that. We are treated to multiple incidents happening to different people in different situations around the same time, and how they coincidentally intersect with each other is what is the crux of the hyperlink screenplay pattern that this film follows.
The scriptwriter and the Editor (Philomin Raj) have worked in tandem to ensure that the narration is smooth. Sharp dialogues (Lokesh's original ones have been translated by Sashank Vennelakanti) come as a plus. Raw visuals (Selvakumar SK is the cinematographer) are stylized subtly. The night effect scenes are especially brilliant.
The story is heavily dependent on coincidences and that makes things too cerebral after a point. But within that framework, 'Nagaram' manages to sustain the audience's interest. The acid-attack incident being an example.
The film manages to balance the superficial and the emotional quite well. Charlie's characterization stands out. The whole episode of his travel with Shri is a must-watch element.
You may say that the goriness, although justified from the perspective of the story, could have been downplayed to make it more palatable for family audiences.
Probably, the makers should have projected it as it is, instead of misleading the audience into presuming that it's a Sundeep Kishan-Regina movie all the way.
Shri comes up with a brilliant performance as he conveys the shock, desperation and dejection without going overboard anywhere. Sundeep Kishan as a rugged youngster is quite apt in the action scenes. His look and measured portrayal deserves kudos. Charlie is once again brilliant after 'Yaman'. One wants to watch him more and more. However, Munishkanth is a bit over-the-top. If his characterization is to-the-point, his act leaves much to be desired.
Regina Cassandra gets a little limited screen space, but still manages to perform in a way that justifies casting her in the role. The actors who portray the corrupt inspector and the constable and the guy who comes as the friend of Sri do their parts well.
Javed Riaz’s songs are nice to the ears, seamlessly interlaced as they are with the screenplay. The BGM, apart from enhancing the thrill factor, announces the arrival of a promising youngster who is well-equipped in playing with sounds. Stunt choreography by Anbariv is realistic and impactful.
'Nagaram' is a thriller where four different personality types find their lives converging over a kidnap. Excellent performances (generally speaking) and first-rate technical elements are its major assets. On the flip side, even at 137 minutes, it looks stretched and somewhat puzzlingly cerebral.