'Naan Ee' (Tamil)
Cast: Naani, Sudeep, Samantha
Themes on re-incarnation, where the spirit of a wronged human possesses another human, animal or doll, or is reborn and wrecks vengeance on his tormentor, has been a popular theme on celluloid. 'Naan Ee' (a bi-lingual in Tamil and Telugu) is a vengeance-reincarnation drama too, but with a difference. For, here the dead man is reborn as a fly, leaving one to wonder how a tiny insect could take on a powerful foe as business tycoon Sudeep. Supported by animation and laced with emotion and light humour, popular Telugu film maker Rajamouli (of 'Mahadheera' fame) has presented a magical fantasy drama that will keep your eyes riveted on screen.
The director doesn’t waste time on elaborate introductions to his characters, but moves into the plot fast enough. It’s a simple, predictable story line. It centres on three people. Naani (Naani of 'Veppam') who loves his neighbour Bindu; Bindu, a social worker and skilled in miniature art (it would stand her in good stead later), who feigns indifference while all along enjoying Naani’s attention and pranks; and Sudeep, a casanova who would go to any length to get a woman he lusts for. Furious at Bindu’s indifference and her liking for Naani, Sudeep kills Naani. How the latter reborn as a fly gets back at Sudeep is the rest. The interludes between Naani and Bindu are engaging. Naani appears for a brief time, but infuses his role with an endearing playful charm. Samantha as Bindu wears some chic dresses, and is adequate in her part.
But the scene stealer is Sudeep (the Kannada hero) who debuts on Tamil screen. Relishing every bit of his role, Sudeep is splendid as the arrogant ruthless tycoon, who goes through stages of fury and fear as he is hounded and terrorised by a little fly that survives all his attempts to destroy it. Hilarious is the scene where he visits Bindu, and is thwarted by the fly as he tries to get physically close to her. There are shades of the Patrick Swayze film 'Ghost' here. It’s not just the design and animation that fascinate, but also the director’s acumen to link the audience emotionally to the animated character.
Kudos to the director for not superimposing Naani’s frame on the fly (as is done in most films of this genre), but giving it its own space. The climax is appreciable. The film tends to lag a little in the second half. The tantric-episode is an unwanted distraction. The scene at the office meeting where Sudeep goes berserk, and in his fly-swatting binge inadvertently slaps and hits board members, is similar to the cake-throwing scenes of earlier films. Santhanam appears in a scene as a petty thief, but lends much humour to it. Strongly supportive of the director’s vision is its technical team. The visual effects and graphics are stunning, and can match a Hollywood film. The melodious songs suitably placed and an engaging background score (Maragadhamani), slick editing (Kotagiri Rao), and splendid cinematography (Senthil Kumar) enhance the film’s entertainment value.
The Rajamouli-PVP Cinemas team’s 'Naan Ee' is a wholesome family entertainer, a magical journey worth a trip.