Subramaniapuram was a sleeper hit in 2009 and established M Sasikumar’s credentials in recreating the magic of Madurai in the 80s. Well he backed it with another winner in 2009 by starring as the lead in Nadodigal.
Certain elements are constant – we are back to a small town subject (Rajapalayam and Namakkal), the breezy first half features the happy lives of 3 friends – Sasikumar, Vijay Vasanth and Bharani, there is an action packed drama featuring a celebrated elopement sequence and the reverse seamer in the climax is tops.
Sasikumar plays it to his strengths – there is no larger-than-life character instead he and his friends represent the small world and small dreams that inspire the average youth in the small town. In his case it is securing a Government job that will enable him marry his cousin, a childhood sweetheart. So he plays the role as a natural but peps it with some witty one liners. His boon companions too are relatable characters – Vijay Vasanth aspires to set up a computer centre while Bharani playing the lovable but dimwit guy just wants to have a passport to enable him to go abroad.
The comic sequences are filled in easily by Ganja Karuppu and a funny character who acts as the local Minor equivalent. Initial sequence are breezy enough – harmless pranks, lovely songs and one is not quite sure of what is to come. In fact the elopement proposal for his lovelorn friend Ranga seems one similar adventure. But the pace is fast and furious after that.
The elopement scene itself is well shot and achieved great acclaim. The mission is accomplished at some cost – a broken marriage proposal and the death of his grandmother for Sasi, a leg amputation for Vijay Vasanth while Bharani loses his hearing.
Gradually the story recovers from the tragedy as each of them try to recover their bearings. Imagine their anger when they learn that there was trouble in paradise and the lovers had a tiff and decided to part ways. The social commentary at this stage is an interesting insight in itself. But the story seems to be meandering towards an average ‘revenge’ drama and yet one hangs on to watch it all unfold.
Overall the movie scores with peppy songs (couple of Koothu and Gaana numbers are essential fillers) and nice bits of comedy weaved in. The length is just a tad too long by about 15 minutes – the side track of Vijay Vasanth courting Sasi’s sister with active involvement and antics of his father didn’t work for me beyond a point. It looked like a novel idea to begin with but became quite pedestrian by the end of it.
Of the three female leads, Ananya gets to play a credible character and is a pivot in the story. She essays her role quite well but again her passive acceptance of her final fate in order to placate her parents jars a bit and is not all that very convincing.
The final shot is good though and Sasikumar deserves a pat on his back for producing a final twist that is not without meaning and makes more sense in real life. So in two neat tricks we are back to a fairly conventional action drama story. All in all it is still worth a watch though it is not as memorable as Subramaniapuram.