Naan Rajavaga Pogiren is a laboriously structured tale of mystery and revenge. It takes too long to start and offers us too little when it eventually does.
Jeeva (Nakul) is a Tamil speaking young man living living with his mother in some obscure Himachal Pradesh village. He is naive and plays with kids twice as young as him. He has a sleeping disorder and dozes off in the middle of important things, viz. the climax of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. Basically, on a scale of one to 'Navarasa Nayagan' Karthik, Jeeva would be a hard eight in my book of weirdness. One day, a military serviceman mistakes him for a classmate named Raja from Chennai who looks just like him. After showing a few videos of Raja, he convinces Jeeva to leave behind his life in Himachal to go seek his lookalike.
Most parts of the movie is basically Jeeva getting to know about Raja by talking to a person close to the latter. These people talk about Raja as they knew him. This results in a series of flashbacks which guide us and Jeeva on his search for Raja. We meet Raja's closest friend who has feelings for him. Through her, we go into another flashback and meet Valli who Raja had feelings for. This is a conscious narrative choice but it is executed so laboriously that the films often begins to feel unbearable to sit through. The actual story starts with Valli and everything about Avani Modi just feels like an excuse before getting to the point. The first half is a non-starter and the film begins to say things of importance only after the interval.
The film's best part comes in the form of Chandni Tamilarasan, who plays the Law student named Valli. She looks so adorable with those big eyes of hers that you'd want to lock her in your hands and protect her from whatever she's afraid of. This is the reason why one would root for Valli, who gets in trouble after basically cracking a case open and naming a few big criminals in her thesis.
While it is undeniably bloated and could be easily edited to make a slicker version, there are a plenty of other problems which cannot be rooted out. There are simply too many characters to begin with. While that's not standalone problem, it becomes one when they keep running into each other in every other corner of Chennai. Wherever our Valli and goes, there's some bad guy conveniently located there to spot him and inform the bigger bad guy. After one point, such shorthands become tiring and kill every last bit of dramatic tension present. The film finds time to slip in over five completely useless song sequences, but pushes certain relatively important conversations about why the bad guys' motive behind chasing Valli to quick expositions.
G.V.Prakash has provided a highly derivative score for the film which rips off James Horner's Avatar soundtrack. I wonder why Vettri Maaran even chose to be associated with this film. He has written the film's dialogues and his contribution is almost negligible. He was the reason I decided to watch this film and I am sorely disappointed. I get a sense from the film's ever changing visual tone that it probably had a long, troubling production period. The quality of the image keeps changing between scenes, and no, I am not referring to the documentary style handheld work in the early parts of the film. I wonder how Nakul still looks so very young [his first film released 10 years ago]. He does good with his action sequences but is really bad with emotional scenes.
The film gives off vibes of Ghajini, but disappoints more often that it impresses. Its clumsy narrative never manages to sustain interest for more than 5 minutes at a stretch. While I didn't see the twist coming- though I really should have- its impact is quickly squandered. It ends with a DDLJ type train station climax, and leaves us with Jeeva's sleeping disorder.view less