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Natchathiram Nagargiradhu Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Wednesday, August 31, 2022 • తెలుగు ]
Natchathiram Nagargiradhu Review
Banner:
Yaazhi Films, Neelam Productions
Cast:
Kalaiyarasan, Kalidas Jayaram, Dushara Vijayan, Hari Krishnan, Vinoth, Subathra Robert, Shabeer Kallarakkal, Regin Rose, Damu, Gnanaprasad, Vinsu Rachel Sam, Arjun Prabhakaran, Uthaiya Surya, Stephen Raj, Sherin Celin Mathew, Manisa Tait
Direction:
Pa. Ranjith
Production:
Pa Ranjith
Music:
Tenma

Natchathiram Nagargirathu -  Shines in its theme of the politics in love

Pa. Ranjith and politics are inseparable and he has made loud and clear statements with his previous star and superstar vehicles stamping his unique signature on them.  If you are curious about  how he can possibly do the same with a film about love, he surprises you by doing just that and more in 'Natchathiram Nagargirathu'.

Arjun (Kaliyarasan) a wannabe film actor comes to Puducherry to join a theater group and get trained. There he meets different characters such as the self made Rene (Dushara), her estranged former lover Inian (Kalidas Jayaram) a gay couple, a lesbian couple, a transgender in love with a straight man and also  middle aged man pining for the affections of a French girl half his age.  The theater director a man who himself is an inter religious marriage decides to stage a play about love and the politics behind that.  How the preparations for the play affect and change the main characters is what 'Natchathiram Nagargirathu' is on the surface while several other oppressions including that of freedom of speech is dealt with.

Dushara Vijayan is the central character of the film and she is solid as the self styled seemingly wayward modern girl.  Her confident body language and arrogant dialogue delivery bring Rene to life not only in her glory but also in her vulnerability.  Kalaiyarasan one of the if not the most talented character actor of the current generation is once again terrific as the flawed young man experiences his comeuppance.  He owns three of the best scenes in the entire film namely the drunken brawl before the intermission, his love proposal to Dushara and the one with his mother.  Credit to Kalidas Jayaram that he holds his own despite not getting author backed roles as the other two.  He effortlessly impresses as the regular guy with his own confusions about love and his lover. Madras Hari makes his presence felt in a trendy getup while Regin is natural as the theater director and the actress who plays Kalaiyarasan's mother dominates an entire sequence with her impeccable acting.  The rest of the cast are uniformly good with Shabheer Kallarakkal aka Dancing Rose making merry in a symbolic oppressor character at the end and no prices for guessing who or what he represents.

The most impressive thing about 'Natchathiram Nagargirathu' is that though the core theme of the film is love it has not been dramatized or glorified or even romanticized one bit.  The best example is the unconventional manner in which the lead pair Rene and Dushara fall in love and similarly the same gender couples too are portrayed in a matter of fact manner.  How caste defines a person's entire life is conveyed to the audiences with emphasis through Dushara's character.  Thankfully the Ilayaraja reference and his songs are used to make strong statements and convey feelings rather than just as a fad.  The dialogues are bold and directed straight at contemporary caste politics.  Making real life honor killing victims to narrate their trauma is touching and lends authenticity to the film. 

On the flip side the screenplay set in a theater and involving theater actors is not exactly the best way to connect to the mainstream audiences.  Though it can be argued that actors tend to be exaggerated in their body languages and speech there is a tinge of artificiality in the behavior of most actors barring Kalai and Kalidas.  The honor killing episodes that are depicted in the play, is something that is all too familiar to make any great impact on the viewer.   Among the bunch of love stories none lingers in the mind mainly because their chemistry is dictated by the director and not the script.

Tenma's songs are picturized surreally adding even more depth to them while his background score has the gen x feel to it.  DOP Kishor Kumar has done an excellent job in adapting a fluid camera movement throughout and giving the audience the feeling of being right in the middle of the action.  The rest of the technical contributions are on par with the director's vision.  Pa Ranjith has made films that are easy to relate to the general audiences but this time for some reason has opted to cater to the intellectual niche.  That doesnt make his brilliance as a filmmaker with a bold approach any lesser in 'Natchathiram Nagargirathu'. His master stroke of course is in the climax when the artistes hit back at the demonic power that strangles the freedom of speech symbolizing their importance in todays society more than in any other time in history.

Verdict : Go for it to experience a totally new style of filmmaking by Pa. Ranjith

Rating: 3 / 5.0

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