Promising director Ajay Gnanamuthu is back with Imaikkaa Nodigal after his debut horror hit Demonte Colony in 2015. This film falls in the crime thriller space and has a stellar cast led by Nayanthara and Atharvaa. It also marks Anurag Kashyap’s acting debut in Tamil cinema.
The plot: Anjali (Nayanthara) is a CBI officer who has to stop serial killer Rudra (Anurag) from hunting down young people and collecting large sums as ransom. Anjali’s younger brother Arjun (Atharvaa) and his girlfriend Krithi (Raashi Khanna) are also dragged into the Anjali -Rudra face-off. This is, however, not a straightforward ‘police vs criminal’ story. The director intrigues us with plot twists, role reversals and more character layers in the second half.
- The film is another daring pick by ‘Lady Superstar’ Nayanthara who more than holds her own against the menacing and irresistible Anurag Kashyap. After Maya, Aramm and the recent CoCo, Imaikkaa Nodigal is another feather in Nayanthara’s hat. As the super-stylish CBI officer, she goes through subtle look changes over the course of the film, based on the timeline it is set in.
- The baritone of Magizh Thirumeni, who has dubbed for Anurag, is a terrific value addition to the character. Imaikkaa Nodigal is what it is mainly thanks to Nayanthara and Anurag. Ajay Gnanamuthu has milked their screen presence to the hilt. His twists and turns only make it more exciting for the viewers. One can’t think of a better choice than Anurag for the character he plays.
- There are parallels drawn between the hunting methods of the lion and hyena and the lead characters’ modus-operandi – some smart work by the director.
- Vijay Sethupathi’s cameo adds emotional depth to the film. The actor charms us with his inimitable acting style. Atharvaa brims with energy and is thankfully given some good story-driven scenes in the second half. He, however, clearly plays second fiddle to the other powerful names in the film. Little Manasvi (playing Nayan’s daughter), with her cute presence and motormouth, is a huge crowd-pleaser.
- The ‘Hip Hop Tamizha’ duo and their power-packed background score works great for the film. They make Rudra appear even more deadly with their musical cues. After Thani Oruvan, this is another successful outing for them in the action thriller space. Their songs ‘Kadhalikathey’ and ‘Vilambara Idaiveli’ have become popular, and they’ve also added some impressive songs to the film as part of the re-recording.
- Bangalore is an interesting setting for a Tamil film and ace cinematographer R.D.Rajasekhar gives it the visual grandeur and scale it deserves. He keep his focus on the performers with tight close-up shots during the important scenes. This becomes an even more engaging experience for the viewer.
- The film has a run time of 2 hours 50 mins but still manages to remain gripping till the end. The director and editor Bhuvan have presented the narrative in an interesting manner.
- In the second half, the cycle chase sequence and the action scenes in which Atharvaa keeps jumping from one level to the other in a tall building, are haphazard and lousy.
- The romance portions between Atharvaa and Raashi are not annoying, but are still a distraction. Raashi doesn’t get to do much in her Tamil debut.
Final Word: Imaikkaa Nodigal is a highly rewarding experience in the crime thriller space. There are a few lulls in what is a largely arresting flick. Give it a shot.