Naane Varuvaen, hit the theatres a day before the much expected Ponniyin Selvan 1 (PS1). Compared to PS1, Naane Varuvaen definitely lacked in promotions.
Not much buzz was going around before the release except for the release of the teaser and the two singles.
The teaser did set the bar high and created quite some expectations about the movie. To be more precise, the teaser left us clueless about the story – while some wild guesses were possible, we couldn’t be sure.
So did Naane Varuvaen stand up to the expectations? Did it turn out to be an engaging watch? Read on.
From the teaser it was quite obvious that Dhanush plays a dual role in the movie. Dhanush has done an extraordinary job in portraying the two characters quite well.
Prabhu the good guy and Kathir the bad guy both have a not-so-good and indeed a disturbing past.
The first half of the movie is spent in establishing the character arc of Prabhu, and builds up the expectations (that peak on the interval block) for Kathir.
As Prabhu, Dhanush underplays so well. He has shed his stardom completely and just emotes what’s necessary for Prabhu to be portrayed on screen. Nothing more nothing less.
Prabhu’s family, and their chemistry work well too and we are able to connect to their emotions well.
When Kathir enters the story, we are already hyped up and expecting a spine chilling thrill of a story. But that’s where the story is watered down. I wouldn’t say the story was too diluted, but apart from a few mass moments, the second half looked like a wasted opportunity.
The movie runs just 2 hrs and I personally feel that a little bit more time could have been devoted to build the character arc of Kathir.
Prabhu’s character is shown much of a depth, but Kathir’s character is so linear. It is Kathir’s character that should have been given much time in writing, adding some layers to it, and also even more moments that give chills.
The ghost portion of the movie is handled well without the templated jump scares – but still manages to build up the eerie feel.
Though the second half is watered down, it has some mass moments and goosebumps that somewhat saves the movie from being labelled a bore.
Nevertheless, more time should have been spent on answering some questions that we are left clueless about. For instance, Kathir’s profession is quite unclear. And the killings – are they done just as a sport, or for money, or is it something else?
The climax – why does it have to be so rushed? And it had no surprises – it went straight according to the linearly linear line!
As to acting, Dhanush has excelled in both the characters. Especially in the scene where the good and the bad meet, Kathir’s act was so cool.
Both the heroines did a neat job. All the kids deserve a special mention for the kind of acting they put out.
Yuvan’s music is another hero in the movie. Veera Soora, Rendu Raja – both the songs did a terrific job for Kathir’s character. And Dhanush’s mass moments went well with the music in these songs! The BGM worked perfectly well too!
Ultimately, we can say that this is a different kind of Selva’s movie. A very good, well built first half, a watered down and predictable second half, a rushed and convenient climax, a highly linear and shallow characterization of the bad guy (whose portrayal is the movie’s trump card) have made Naane Varuvaen a miss!
The movie is definitely not trash. But it could have been better. For me, had these loose ends been attended properly, the movie could have been easily an engaging, and extraordinary thriller.
I’d give it a 3/5.