Cast: Nayanthara, Ajmal Ameer, Manikandan, Sharan Shakthi, Kanna
Nayanthara’s Netrikann is a remake of a Korean movie ‘Blind’. The movie shares the same name as one of Superstar’s oldest movies. Directed by Milind Rau this is a psycho-thriller that covers a wide range of emotions. It follows the story of Durga, an ex-cop who loses her eyesight after an accident and takes up the task of catching a serial-kidnapper and killer.
The movie starts by introducing the protagonist, Durga and her brother Adithya. From the dialogues and body-language itself you know something unhappy is going to follow in the next 5 minutes. And as expected, Durga gets into an accident losing her eyesight and her brother forever. With dialogues itself, the first scene establishes who Durga is, where she is from and who Adithya is to her.
After this first scene, for the next 2 plus hours, Nayanthara plays a visually-challenged character. Except for one scene, she does not cover her eyes with glasses or such anywhere. It is a huge challenge to play this role because the eye-performance is important but at the same time there should be no focus in the eyes. Nayanthara has nailed that aspect of her performance and has really done justice to the role.
For the first 30 minutes, the movie progresses in a gentle yet quirky pace. After her loss of eyesight, there is a whole sequence of montages to describe how she’s coping up with this sudden loss and also introduces another important character. Kanna, her support dog is undoubtedly one of the best supporting characters in the movie.
Ajmal’s character is simultaneously introduced into the movie. Although we know that he is the antagonist and that he is torturing girls, the movie initially does not reveal more than what was already revealed in the trailer. The movie takes its expected steep turn when the two main characters meet. Durga gets into his car thinking of him as her cab driver. The sequence that follows sets the rest of the story in action.
Two other important characters are SI Manikandan (Manikandan) and Gautham (Sharan Shakthi). SI Manikandan is an innocent police official who has risen to ranks but is not able to prove himself and therefore fails to command respect in his station. He goes to great lengths to find this killer initially because he wants to gain the respect, but later because he really wants to save the victims.
Gautham plays the role of a primary suspect in the case. The director brings in the ‘Akka-Thambi paasam’ sentiment here as Durga sees her Adithya in Gautham. The sentiment actually works really well and this story is also a beautiful side track in the movie. Although Gautham gets introduced only well into the movie, he has really done wonders with his role.
Every single time Nayanthara and Ajmal come in contact with each other, the former fights him to escape. None of these fight scenes seem intangible given that they establish that she is an ex-cop. But apart from that aspect as well, the scenes show only what a visually-challenged person with great presence of mind can do, and does not exaggerate anything for the sake of showing heroine-ism.
In the middle of the movie, when we start finding the origins of Ajmal’s character, there is one scene that shows him as a doctor involved in covetous work. The screenplay forces us to think that’s the reason for him kidnapping and torturing his victims. But, later when the real origin to his psychological problem is revealed, we are left pretty surprised.
With a major chunk of the movie left, we have identified who the antagonist is and why he is doing what he is doing. We wonder how thrilling the rest of the movie is going to be. The only problem however is that the climax is a little stretched out to show how Durga tackles him in spite of her challenge. If it was cut-short a little, it would have been even more enthralling to watch.
After the first half, the thrill factor reduces on a large scale mostly because the movie is unnecessarily stretched out. If the movie was shortened a little more, it would have managed to keep its audience engaged till the very end.
The movie deals with a variety of emotions and sentiment including guilt, redemption, anger, sibling-sentiment, etc. In spite of being a psychological-thriller, the movie has packed this variety of emotions in the best way possible. The Background score is pretty good but not something new. Generally, a villain theme for a psycho-killer is a great opportunity for a good score. But, that is absent in this movie, as the score is something normal. The song ‘Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum’ however, is really a soothing song that helps you heal.
Ajmal’s flashback story explains a lot but also does not do complete justice in establishing his actions. While we’re shown too much of his history to understand why he has become the animal he is today, not much of what he actually does to his victims is shown all through the movie. The main fear-element in a psycho-thriller is to know what the antagonist does to his victims. That is what makes us pray that the protagonist should not fall into his trap. As that is missing, the fear-element itself goes missing at some places.
There is not much consistency in dialogues. In the main scene where Ajmal is arrested, Durga has a lot to say and those dialogues are well-spoken. In fact, she says something about the choices made by women which we think would be something about feminism. But, she says no matter what choices she makes, nobody has the authority to punish her for it. But, in other scenes the dialogue delivery is not that great as they’re very short and don’t solve the purpose.
The cinematography is commendable. The shots where Kanna steps in to save Durga are just too good. After he does, with just two shots they’ve managed to convey Kanna’s fate. Similarly, in one scene, Durga gets angry as someone reminds her of her guilt. The angles in that scene portray her anger more than Durga herself, as she loses her balance and walks away without wanting any help.
The movie has a very serious and dramatic tone to it. It is generally difficult to bring in humour in such movies. But with a few scenes, the director has also managed to bring in comedy that is not over done, but is exactly as required. Scenes with Manikandan and an abortion agent to whom Durga has to act as she can see, manages to hit our funny bone as well.
Coming to the main point, i.e.Nayanthara’s acting. Nayanthara has played a main character with so much depth after ages. Although she has done a lot of female-centric films in the recent past, none of those roles were as challenging as this one. Nayanthara has portrayed all the emotions with ease and perfection. In scenes where she grieves, she grieves so much that we start to grieve. At the same time, in scenes she’s enraged, she ensures that our blood boils as well. As a visually-challenged person, her acting is flawless and has set a standard for anyone who is to take up such roles in the future.
On the whole, although the movie resembles any other psycho-thriller movie, it is a must watch for screenplay and performance. The only negative of the movie being its length can also be sidelined as the plot and acting takes over that negative. The story of a visually-challenged person tackling a criminal is not the first of its kind in Kollywood, but Milind Rau has made us believe that it is.