Naanga centres on a group of former college mates and friends who meet after 25 years to resolve a situation. The narration shuttles between the present and the past as each takes a trip down memory lane to their college days. We get to learn about their friendship and bonding, their failed loves and dreams, the compromises that each had to make, and the crucial event that had disturbed them enough to stay away from each other after graduation.
It’s an enthusiastic bunch of industry kids who play the lead characters, each adequate in his role. The college campus scenes shot in 80s style, captures the ambience and the setting suitably. The characters are those we find in every campus story. Chandran (Sanjay Krishna) an ardent Illayaraja fan, forced by family circumstance to sacrifice his aspiration of being a singer; Basha (Munish) who is enamoured of Revati, his classmate, plays up to her father, a cop, feigning interest in joining the police force. His love may have failed, but his pretense turns into a reality for him; Babu (Udhai) hiding an old pain, his infatuation for an older woman (Kasthuri) having resulted in tragic consequences; Mani the college rebel (Nivas) whose bickering with classmate Rama had turned into love.
There are the two villains of the piece - Maayan the college rowdy (Varun) and their classmate Devi’s intended groom Pandian (Shakir, singer Mano’s son), a ruffian, obsessed with the girl. Dev’s liking for classmate Daya (Vinod) does not help matters.
The film opens with Devi regaining consciousness after being in coma for 25 years, and Daya in a prison. The final flashback is of the happenings that had led to the situation the duo was in.
A bit of suspense here, but not quite thrilling when it’s unraveled. Ashwin Raja as one of the group gets the best lines and makes the most of it. It’s a neat screenplay, but lacks the punch and fizz to make it gripping viewing.
There are flaws too. Like, the explanation offered by Daya’s friends, many in high echelons of power, for not getting him out of the 25-year jail sentence, sounds unconvincing. The boys seem to have aged rather gracefully. The female leads could have done with some better make-up. Finally, the film reminds you of earlier campus films like Oru Kallooriyin Kathai and Ninaithale Inikkum.
Naanga is at the most a passable entertainer.