‘1' Nenokkadine Has you Gripped but not for Right Reasons
What do you make of a plotline that travels from Hyderabad to Goa to Belfast with intermittent flashbacks that don’t add up to anything until the very last scene? That only an actor with star status like Mahesh Babu can act in it and also hope for a success.
‘1’ Nenokkadine is director Sukumar’s latest offering that has you gripped through the whole film, but not for the right reasons.
While Ghajini picked on short-term memory loss, Nenokkadine chooses something akin to schizophrenia to add the suspense to this thriller. Unlike Mahesh’s earlier films that managed to sew in a few comic sequences (Bramhanandam and Mahesh became a favourite team in several of the latter’s films), 1 steers clear of all distractions and sticks to what appears to be the unravelling of the protagonist’s mind. And perhaps, that was the smartest decision the director made.
The film opens to the actor’s son Gautam making his film debut. Playing his father’s character’s younger self, who incidentally has also been christened Gautam, the child is seen running through a forest chased by gunmen. Before we find out what happens to him, the scene shifts to the now grown up Gautam, a Telugu independent musician with an international fan following (of course, they’re all part of the various Telugu communities worldwide or they’re Sardarjis living in UK who speak Telugu).
But within the first 15 minutes of the film, Gautam goes from celebrated rockstar to guilty murderer and we’re wondering: if he’s already killed off the antagonists, is the movie going to be a flashback narration throughout (groaning inward)?
Kriti Sanon as the ‘feisty’ journalist Sameera makes her presence in the story with ‘exclusive’ footage that shows Gautam murdering nothing else but thin air. A rather unprofessional psychiatrist determines Gautam’s mental condition where he seems to be hallucinating about killing three men in particular. Quite worried that he’s losing his mind, our hero makes a getaway to Goa, where Sameera ambushes him.
Playing two sides of the same coin, she further confuses an already confused Gautam to the extent that he begins to question reality and in the process kills a man he believes to be a hallucination.
At this point, none of the film makes sense except the fact that Gautam’s mind is really in trauma and the film does an excellent job of transferring that trauma to the audience, who by the way are surprised (and pained) that this is just the first half of it.
From being a psychological thriller this whole time, Nenokkadine suddenly swaps tones to being a semi-James Bond flick, complete with a parkour sequence, Ducati bike chases, sniper dodges and a mysterious safety deposit box in a UK bank. Oh, and of course, a ‘special’ song featuring Sophie Choudhary.
Explaining the plausibility of the first half, the second half throws one or two good punches, but the climax is set so far from the premise of the movie, it cripples the already flimsy storyline. Ending with a heralding of a second ‘Green Revolution’ and carrying on a legacy that aims at a food Utopia, you wish the movie continued with the schizophrenia and ended in an asylum.
Despite an unnecessarily convoluted plot, the actors do a good job in fleshing out their roles.
As for the film’s technical execution, the cinematographer goes for the tried-and-tested sleek shadow play but the overall aesthetics make the actors look good. The background score is well-timed though unimaginative but the graphics help the illusion along.
Ultimately, Nenokkadine makes for a one-time watch but don’t expect it to make much sense.