Director: Sharran Kumar
Cast: Bharath, Aparna Vinod, Gokul Anand
Something that you keep noticing as you sit through Bharath’s Naduvan is its artificiality. You feel it in the way scenes are lit and staged as though they were trying to recreate an image from some film or TV series. You feel it again in the extremely pompous-sounding voiceover in Bharath’s voice that’s about the meaning of life or something like that. You feel it in the perfect manner in which female characters appear, in perfect clothing and makeup, even in casual everyday home settings. And you feel it most in the way the film painfully builds up to something even though we’ve gotten there hours before it does.
That’s not to say that the film didn’t have potential. At its core is a basic revenge plot that involves two different kinds of betrayal. The film takes its time to establish little details in the build up to this and you can see how all this could have culminated to become something explosive. Although it takes its time, these details aren’t exactly original or interesting. For instance, the film takes dozens of dialogue to keep establishing how busy Bharath is at work. We then get a proportionately large number of scenes to establish how shady another character is. All this works on a plot level, but these scenes and dialogues operate on such a basic level that they feel like placeholders for an actual writer to come in and work on. So if a scene is written to show us how Bharath hardly spends any time at home, we get shots where he leaves his breakfast midway with lines sounding like, “Sorry wife. I need to rush to work. Don’t you know how busy I am. I’ll eat at work,” to which his wife reacts with a sigh.
And then on the other end, we get the absolute opposite kind of writing. In one scene, we walk in on Bharath’s friend as he’s pleasuring himself. But is he really!? Is he not? There’s tension, there’s suspense, there’s eerie music and for a change, there’s actual filmmaking, as we wait to find out if he is. And when the camera switches angles, the editing does the rest to give us the shock of our lives. It’s the only two minutes in the film when a director seems to be in control. But for all the elaborate build-up, the reveal is pretty juvenile. We think it’s a dude playing with himself but the effect is of the makers messing with our heads.
But the film moves away from these touches and begins to go soft on us. A second sub-plot suddenly becomes important and it turns into a mix of a home invasion thriller and a heist comedy. And when you think that it’s already a revenge thriller, we end up feeling like helpless children in the middle of their fighting parents. There’s too many things happening and in that mess, we end up right in the middle, not knowing where to look. Seems like the only person who had any fun during or after this movie was Bharath’s friend. Or did he?!