Nootrenbadhu – Maintain 180 degrees of separation

If Shankar had directed this movie, it would have lasted all but 30 minutes. The movie boasts of stunning visuals but we can soak it in quickly, you don’t have to pause to ensure we really do enjoy. Think Siddharth taking two steps backward after opening a door, this lasts for roughly a minute. Yawn!!!

The movie opens up in the banks of Ganges and your thirst for an urbane, crisp movie stops right there. The dialogues, characterization and intrigue are best portrayed here and are completely lost in the remainder of the movie. It becomes predictable and clichéd.

Every director has to be a good writer. You need to get the screenplay taut before you let the camera do its work. Obviously, Jayendra doesn’t believe in that. Just because you play golf with Mani Ratnam does not mean you can direct another Idhayathai Thirudathey. That was a classic, this is a wannabe.

Nithya Menon starts off on a good note and keeps it there. There are many highs in her performance -Movie Theater, enquiring about Mano, lost in love, she has talent and scores well. Priya Anand is a different story. She has a meaty role and lets it slip through her whinny and over the top act. She has a great figure but that is simply not enough, especially when we have to watch her for roughly half the time.

Siddharth delivers. Confused yet angry when Vidhya falls for him, Confused and excited when in love with Renu, he uses this movie as a great comeback vehicle. We have already acknowledged and accepted him as a city boy who charms the girls so it would have been refreshing if he had attempted a different tangent.

Jayendra makes his debut as a director. When it’s your first movie, there is always a scene or a part of the movie that is a testimonial to your brilliance. Having waited a really long time to make this movie, you expect details and care, not in just the visuals but the finer aspects – plot and screenplay. He misses that bus completely. There are scenes that are quirky but we have already seen that. Like the puthu vellai mazhai, Gautham Menon did that in VTV. There is no innovation, no twists and the movie plods along in the path well-travelled without attempting anything novel.

The part before the intermission is good on many levels. Chennai looks beautiful, costumes blend into scenes and mostly it’s fun to see Mano live life. The part after, is like nails grating on blackboards – annoying and you can’t wait to get out. Instead of appreciating and agreeing to AJ’s quest for anonymity we label him a self-absorbed jerk and that is where the movie plunges downward. But one of the merits of watching a movie in theaters is that the audience starts guffawing at the director’s ill attempts. That makes it easier to sit through.

Balasubramanien has extraordinary talent – everything is fresh, colors melt into the background, lighting is adequate and he takes the burden of the crew single handedly. Banu wields her magic touch and the leading ladies look even more beautiful. Shareth’s music becomes repetitive and he could have worked the BGM better.

Nootrenbadhu (180) could have been that urbane love story – old wine in a new bottle but it just reeks of stale odor.