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Friday, January 13, 2012

'Nanban' User Review - Same tale with three new idiots

Cinemimi[Thursday, January 12, 2012]
The following article is by a user and is not Cinemimi's take towards anyone or anything. Written by Ramesh G

Around two years ago, I had the opportunity to see "3 Idiots" in Trichy's Cauvery Cinema Hall which was totally packed with college students from the delta region. Each and every scene in the film had the audience applauding rapturously and cheering together, not because they were die-hard fans of Aamir Khan, but because the screenplay was great. It went on to win the National Award for best wholesome entertainer.

Today, I saw Nanban, the same movie presented by one of Tamil Cinema's biggest directors, Shankar. Nanban's budget was Rs. 60 crore almost twice that of its original version and I had to pay thrice as much for the ticket to watch it during the opening weekend. I am not sure if it will end up collecting half as much money (Rs. 350 crore by 3 Idiots), but in all fairness, the film is not disappointing. Finding faults in it becomes very difficult because it is a page to page copy of 3 idiots, including a lot of smaller details.

It is for that same reason that Nanban will succeed in impressing all kinds of audiences, especially the youth who are in college. But that is all it will get and nothing more.

We have seen remakes go horribly wrong when scripts travel across different states in India, as directors try to adapt the screenplay for their superstar local hero. This is where Shankar makes a difference. We might have seen him make compromises in movies like Sivaji and Endhiran in order to bring out the magnitude in Rajinikanth but with Nanban, he seems to be much disciplined. The story, as obvious as it might be, is not stupid and fans should be totally grateful to Shankar for not letting anyone mess around with the script.

Madhan Karky who has written the screenplay along with Shankar has done a good job. Manoj Paramahamsa, who was behind the camera in VTV and Shankar's own production Eeram has been opted for Nanban is very impressive and creative with his shots. Editing by Anthony also deserves a mention.

I would have loved to see him be modest about making the film without making so many expenses. The songs in particular, seemed like an overdose of gloss. But those are the things that would be loved by the fans and will help in promoting the movie. After all, it is the least you can expect from a Shankar film.

Coming to the casting, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by the way things came out on the screen. A lot of things were refreshing. Let's take a closer look at the performance of everyone.

Vijay jumps into the shoes of Aamir Khan to play the lead role of 'Pari', the genius student (that's what they claim him to be) who cannot only pass every subject but become the topper with ease that cannot be understood. Without being opinionated, I must say that Vijay was good in Nanban. Understandable is the fact that it would be hard for a man, who is known to be acting in similar movies over and over again, to take up a role that doesn't need him to be a hero (and NOT do a lot of funny stuff). He is much better with his expressions and is funny on all situations that require him to be funny. There is still a lot of room for improvement but this is not the Vijay we saw in Kuruvi, Vettaikaaran or Sura. He does well in emotional scenes, which is important because Nanban is very much an emotional movie. Apart from these factors, his dance moves are still in place and his performance in the song "Irukkaana" deserves a mention.

Jiiva, in particular, stands out from the rest of the crew for making things so funny in the movie. It is hard to remember him as a mainstream actor seeing him in Nanban where he delivers one of the best supporting comedy roles in Tamil cinema.

Srikanth, who we have seen doing different things in Tamil Cinema has also escaped from my wrath. Before the movie, I thought he would be the weakest link among the three actors but he has come through with a decent performance that doesn't have anything much bad about it.

Overall, the chemistry between the three of them was great. It could be seen in each and every seen. I didn't see them doing so well in their independent scenes or even in their independent movies as a matter of fact.

Sathyaraj who has played the role of Virus (Virumaandi Santhanam) is amazing. Taking up a character of someone totally psychotic, he makes the audience laugh out loud on several occasions and also make them curse him the rest of the time. Virus is so caught up behind Pari in the story and I do not see anyone else doing a better job, not even the very versatile Prakash Raj. This is one big name actor who impresses greatly coming back into the picture of a big movie, after a long time.

Ileana who was picked only after efforts to sign Katrina Kaif failed looks cute and cuddly throughout the film. In fact, I still can't believe that she is actually so puny. There are heroines who do glamour shots and impress audiences, but Ileana is of the other kind. She has priceless expressions and good body language throughout the movie. Her dances reminded me of Shreya and I mean that as a complement. Not a lot of time on the screen, but Ileana makes a mark, although not a big one.

Satyan perhaps with his biggest role yet in Tamil cinema yet as Srivathsan (Silencer) does fairly well, but there are more than one occasion where I could see him overdoing a bit. Still, deserves some praise none the less. S.J.Suryah, Anuya and Raghava Lawrence all play their small roles. Anuya in particular seems to have forgotten her days in Siva Manasula Sakthi(SMS).

Harris Jeyaraj's music is passable, but does not make do. In many ways, that's the bottom line for the movie too.

Overall, Nanban is a great entertainer. You will laugh with all our heart many a times when you see the movie. It however falls much short of 3 Idiots. I could not shake the feeling that the entire project was made just to make a lot of money. Shankar was very disciplined but this was far from his best and he should really consider making a movie with Kamal Hassan again to get his priorities in order. It is a step up for Vijay and Jiiva and I am kind of sure we can't expect anything more from Srikanth in the future.

Plainly put, Nanban will not break any records. It takes too many leaves from the 3 Idiots book. It may a make a lot of money, but it will be forgotten.

Verdict - Laugh and forget.

Rating - 3.5/5 - An enjoyable watch

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