It’s not very often we see a star comedian step out of his comfort zone and actually act much to the surprise of the fans. A comedian’s role in Indian cinema, especially southern industry, is always limited to double entendres, getting trolled or taken for a ride by the hero or getting their respective asses kicked. This has restricted these talented comedians to use their potential to the fullest, and one such comedian happens to be Vivekh, who despite being extremely talented has mostly resorted to entertaining audiences with clichéd comedy. Breaking all stereotypes revolving around Indian comedians, Vivekh has decided to don a serious role in “Naan Than Bala”, and he has done a pretty good job at it.
Bala (Vivekh) works as a temple priest and lives with his aged parents. Many years ago, his father, who also worked as a temple priest got pinned for a robbery he never committed. 17 years have gone by and the case still remains open in court. One fine day the 76-year old father of Bala gets arrested by the police and will only be freed in exchange for some money. Bala is helpless and all those he approaches for help turn down their hands. When all hope seems to have lost, help comes in the form of Poochi, who comes to learn about Vivekh’s situation and helps him. A warm camaraderie is developed between Bala and Poochi and that eventually takes us through the rest of the film.
The story is inspired by the relationship between Duryodhana and Karna from Mahabharata. It’s a shame that we have seldom make films based on our rich literature and instead have also remained to churning out commercial entertainers. Naan Than Bala deserves special mention for attempting to do something many films and actors would not even imagine of doing in the first place.
It treats a story with utmost sincerity, but struggles due to sluggish narrative and mediocre performances. It needed stronger cast to hold the film together and although Vivekh does all that he could in his power to shoulder the movie, it doesn’t work in his favour. It’s tough to say if the film will be received by audiences with a warm smile. All those who appreciate content-driven films may appreciate the effort by the team to give us a film that not only entertains but also inspires at regular intervals. Kudos to Vivekh for being creative and embracing a role with such dedication we hardly in most actors.