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Nenjuku Needhi Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Friday, May 20, 2022 • Malayalam ]
Nenjuku Needhi Review
Banner:
Zee Studios,
Cast:
Udhayanidhi Stalin, Aari, Tanya Ravichandran, Shivani Rajashekar, Yamini Chander, Suresh Chakravarthi, Ilavarasan, Mayilsamy,
Direction:
Arunraja Kamaraj
Production:
Boney Kapoor
Music:
Dhibu Ninan Thomas

Nenjukku Needhi -  Touches the heart with its earnest social commentary

Arunraja Kamaraj on debut in 'Kanaa' pulled off the impossible feat of making a convincing sports drama as well as tackling the farmers issues emphatically within the confines of commercial cinema.  Expectations are naturally high for his sophomore venture which also carries the extra burden of being the official remake of 'Article 15'.  Whether 'Nenjukku Needhi' lives up to its expectations remains to be seen.

Vijayaraghavan (Udhayanidhi Stalin) an Assistant Superintendent of Police is posted in Pollachi station and immediately is disgusted by the caste discrimination found among cops themselves.  The local inspector Sundaram (Suresh Chakravarthy) belonging to an upper caste is also a facilitator for the rich and corrupt in the area.  Two dalit minor girls from the nearby village are found hanging on a tree and one goes missing.  The narrative in town is that they were lesbians and their fathers are arrested for allegedly killing them to uphold the family honor.  The apprentice government doctor Anitha (Yamini Chander) finds evidence of torture, gangrape and strangulation but is made to suppress it by Sundaram and his political bosses.  There is also Kumaran (Aari Arjunan) a wanted naxalite who wants speedy justice since the missing girl is from his village.  Vijayaraghavan takes it upon himself to seek the truth and justice for the girls for which he has to first locate the missing girl Sathya.  Whether he finds her or not and beats insurmountable odds to find the culprits  and brings them to justice is what 'Nenjukku Needhi' is all about.

Udhayanidhi Stalin has put in a sincere effort to bring Vijayaraghavan to life and he succeeds to a great extent.  Be it showing disgust to his colleagues divided by caste, to handling the naxalite with empathy to jumping into the sewage in pursuit of the truth he holds it all with his subtle performance.  Aari Arjunan as the fiery naxalite Kumaran makes an impact. Shivaani Rajasekhar plays Kurunji the elder sister of Sathya and Kumaran's love interest quite effectively and so is Yamini Chander in the role written as a tribute to the real life Ariyalur Anitha.  Tanya Ravichander appears as the mandatory love interest.  Ilavarasu provides the few laughs in the film as the bumbling yes man sub inspector with Mayilswamy also shining as the blind follower of traditions.  However it is Suresh Chakravarthy as the all evil cop belonging to the upper caste who steals the show with his terrific acting.  The disgust he shows on his face when he sees the lower caste people, the subtle threats he makes to the hero and when he finally turns into a lowlife and a cold blooded killer are all a treat to watch.  Antony, Ramesh Thilak, Ratsasan Saravanan, Shayaji Shinde and Abdool Lee have also been cast in apt roles.

What works best in 'Nenjukku Needhi' is the strong social commentary that is dominant throughout the film that is directed more towards the audiences and cleverly making them a part of the narration.  The dialogues are powerful and hard hitting, especially the one that questions the meaning or actually the lack of it of the Tamil word "Theettu ''.  Making the protagonist belong to the upper caste is also a strong point emphasizing that the sense of justice resides in the individual and not in who he socially is.  The film underlines the fact that discrimination of all sorts should first be weeded out from those monitor the society as policemen and politicians.  The motive for the gangrape and murder being such a negligible one sends chills down the spine and serves as a reminder that India still has large number of people who need to be uplifted in all aspects of life.

On the downside the screenplay suffers due to the dilemma whether it should play as a crime thriller with strong messages or vice versa.  While the social commentary works in most scenes and has the audience emotionally invested, the flat narration with no major twist and turn including the identities of the criminals is a major dampener.  

Dhibu Ninan Thomas's background score punctuates the powerful dialogues and is especially haunting when the missing girl is searched by the hero in swamp and the woods.  Dinesh Krishnan's cinematographer sets the dark mood of the film while Ruben has handled the editing.  Arunraja Kamaraj has lent his own touch to the remake and has succeeded in driving home his strong messages and ideologies.  He may not have hit the bullseye like he did in 'Kanaa' but has still delivered a relevant film much needed for contemporary times.

Verdict : Go for this strong message driven film that serves as an eyeopener in more ways than one.
 

Rating: 3 / 5.0

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