Cast: Raj Bharath, Tejaswi, Amzath, Reshmi
Director: Hanu Raghavapudi
After a long hiatus, director Ravichandran returns to the screen with Natpadhigaram. His earlier film Kannethire Thondrinal (1998) was an ode to friendship, where the protagonist chooses friendship over love. This time, the director, blending in elements of love, friendship and family sentiment, has tried to give it a contemporary feel. The film has pleasant visuals, melodious songs and a presentable lead cast. But while the early part, despite its leisurely pace, offers some interesting moments, the second half lets you down with its sheer number of contrived situations.
The plot centers on two pairs of lovers. There’s Jeeva and Pooja, who hit it off the moment they meet. Jeeva, from a middle-class family, is unemployed and in search of a job, while Pooja is the wealthy daughter of an NRI. How their love affair evolves is fairly interesting. The tall and handsome Raj Bharath makes a convincing transition from villainy 555 (2013), Onaayum Aatukuttiyum (2013)) to heroism. Debutant Tejaswi as Pooja has loads of oomph factor.
The second couple is Arvind, the son of an NRI businessman, and Maha, a simple girl attached to her father. Amzath, the antagonist of Vallinam (2014), plays Arvind with competence. Reshmi’s Maha is traditional and simple and a direct contrast to the fun-loving bubbly Pooja. The two pairs meet at a pub and become friends immediately. They make a cosy comfortable foursome with their joint outings and partying. The director’s take here is urban and contemporary. These scenes have a natural flow and are some of the best moments in the film.
While the love and friendship are showcased well in the early part, the moments leading to misunderstanding leave a lot to be desired. The Arvind-Pooja imbroglio has a convincing lead to it. It is the Maha-Arvind pair that is misconvincing. And the manner in which the misunderstanding and accusations are allowed to pile up when they could have easily been solved, only slackens the pace. The songs are well placed in the earlier part. But in the latter half, they interrupt the flow of narration.
Sollu Sollu.... though a peppy and a foot-tapping song, seems forced in. The screenplay goes regressive and time-warped in the scenes leading to the climax. Natpadhigaram would have been an apt tribute to friendship and love, if only the screenplay was crafted more coherently and convincingly.