Language: Tamil

Director: Dinesh Selvaraj

Cast: Karthikeyan, Shariya, Evan Shree, Jagadish 

Naalu Peruku Nalladhuna Edhuvum Thappilla (Nothing is Wrong If a Few People Benefit From It) takes its title after the famous line in Nayakan — but there's a bit of a twist. In the Mani Ratnam film, the philosophy was framed around have-nots. The justification was that it was okay to stick it to the establishment that did nothing for you, because how else would you take care of the other have-nots around you?

Look away from the sometimes aggressively showy filmmaking and an ill-advised stab at screwball comedy in the second half (involving a Sivaji Ganesan fan), and you have some solid writing

In Naalu Peruku, directed by Dinesh Selvaraj, this philosophy is turned on its head. Early on, a friend tells Prabhu (Shariya) that there's no use trying to do the right thing. He offers this variation on the Nayakan line: Nothing is wrong as long as no one finds out about it, as long as you don't get caught. The twist deepens when we discover Prabhu's father, a former cop named Ponvinayagam (Aruljothi), is the most honest man on the planet, someone who turned down crores for saving a business tycoon because he was just doing his job and you can't put a price on a good deed.

But Prabhu, who needs five lakhs, has other ideas. This is a fascinating character. His mind is okay with bending the rules but his guts don't cooperate. His hands shiver when he faces a cop. He cowers in fright when threatened by his cohorts. Will he be able to pull off the big one?

Look away from the sometimes aggressively showy filmmaking and an ill-advised stab at screwball comedy in the second half (involving a Sivaji Ganesan fan), and you have some solid writing. I'm not usually a fan of narratives that stop periodically to reveal that what you thought you just saw wasn't really what happened — but the reveals here are cleverly done and they come together convincingly. The return of an actor-aspirant from the early parts of the film is an especially nice touch.

What Naalu Peruku lacks is that certain something that sets a Soodhu Kavvum apart. But I liked the fact that the moralising is kept to a minimum, and there's no lecturing. When a desperate Prabhu tries to rob a restaurant owner, he discovers that his father works as a security guard there. In a lesser movie, he'd slap his head and transform into a good man. Here, he just becomes… less bad than he would have been without this discovery. Sometimes, a true-to-life touch like that is enough.

Watch the trailer here: 

 

Rating:   star

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