A still from the film 'Oru Nodi'
A still from the film 'Oru Nodi'ENPL

'Oru Nodi' movie review: Promising premise let down by incoherent execution

In a film that rests its weight on the narrative flow and not on the characters, there are understandably no remarkable performances.

CHENNAI : While we almost appreciate debut director R Manivarman for not wasting time in an investigative thriller with a romantic track, he surprises us by doing just that towards the second half of the film. The romance involves an alleged murder accused, and this tangent pulls the focus away from the missing person’s case that Oru Nodi opens with.

This has been the most predominant shortcoming of the film. It rebelliously wishes to stand out, which it does in some parts, without realising that being different is not the entire purpose of a story. The screenplay takes the attention span of the audience for granted, with the film focusing on two different police cases at the same time. One scene jostles with another, just when we learn who is who and why they behave the way they do. This would have been a well-made film if just one of the two stories was given prominence and the other was relegated to a negligible subplot or a cold case with a yet-to-be-discovered startling truth that could solve both the cases. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case.

With a runtime of 128 minutes, Oru Nodi quickly unravels the plot of a missing person, Sekar (MS Bhaskar), who is running against time to settle the dues to get back his mortgaged property from a ruthless land shark named Karimedu Thiyagu (Vela Ramamoorthy). The first 30-odd minutes were brilliant as police officer Parithi Ilamaran (Taman Kumar) has a peek into Sekar’s habitat, and then a murder case presents itself which we can predict right from the beginning that it will be connected with the missing case. Despite the predictability, we are still engaged because the ‘how’ is what Oru Nodi is all about.

In a film that rests its weight on the narrative flow and not on the characters, there are understandably no remarkable performances. But Taman Kumar ends up delivering a fairly engaging performance. However, actor MS Bhaskar is severely under-utilised and Pala Karuppiah’s role ends up becoming unintentionally hilarious.

Unfortunately, dialogues too are not a part of the film’s strength. Lines like ‘Unna nimmadhiya vaazha vida maaten’, ‘Vengayatha urikkura maadhri urichiruven,’ and ‘Unna kaadhalicha un pinnadi dhaane vara mudium’ are as generic as it could get. Also, even with its attention to detail, Oru Nodi falters with logical loopholes. It is common knowledge that the law does not permit the cremation of a body that is connected to a suspicious murder. But even before the probe is halfway through, we are shown the victim’s cremation just for the sake of drama. Salt on the wound is a murder that changes the course of the story. It happens with a shaving razor, that too accidentally!

The biggest flaw of Oru Nodi, however, is its lack of a coherent screenplay. It becomes an anxious experience to remember each and every detail of one story before we forget it while trying to concentrate on the other story. How the film alternates between the two stories is disturbingly abrupt. S Guru Suriya leaves a lot to be desired on the editing front. The second half is stretched out so much that even a two hour runtime feels like three hours.

With all that being said, Oru Nodi has safely distanced itself from indulging too much on the romantic track and also thankfully stays away from a typical ‘Tamil cinema cop song’. However, it needs to be mentioned that both the murder story and the missing story had interesting aspects and the potential to operate independently.

Oru Nodi, with a few likeable portions, suffers from the director’s urge to throw details all around and create surprises, rather than catering to the story’s demand. Detailing and purposeful misdirection are essential ingredients to an investigative thriller, but adding these details to an overwhelming extent makes this film unpalatable.

Film: Oru Nodi

Director: R Manivarman

Cast: Taman Kumar, MS Bhaskar, Nikita Krish, Vela Ramamoorthy, Pazha Karuppaiah and Gajaraj

Rating: 2/5

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