The trailer and publicity materials of Nedunchaalai carried a striking similarity to movies such as Mynaa and Paruthiveeran, thanks primarily to hero Aari’s rustic, unkempt look and the heroine Shivada’s half-saree avatar.
As a standalone movie, Nedunchalai carries a different premise surrounding highway robbers who eye cargo lorries and trucks, for their loot. The hero is an expert at his job and has frequent run-ins with a roguish cop. His travails, to stay clear of trouble from all sides, form the movie’s crux.
The romantic interest is provided by a young woman who runs a ‘dhaba’ on the highway and she falls for the hero after some early friction and arguments. The cop also casts his perverted eye on her, and for a point of time we have some interesting episodes featuring the cop and the lead pair, before the customary romance blooms. The sequence at the court when the cop looks to frame the girl of prostitution charges and the way she is surprisingly bailed out of trouble, by the hero, is one such impressive sequence.
Shivada Nair seems like a natural performer and jumps on the opportunity in her first movie. She emotes well and looks really pretty in all those figure-hugging half-sarees. The camera feasts on her from time to time and we all know where all the focus is on. For most of the movie she is bold and daring, but before the interval sequence when she helplessly strips off her clothes completely, to prevent the drunken hero from leaving, might make the feminists fume.
Aari puts in an earnest effort with his earthy looks, dialect and performance. But the traces of Karthi and Vidharth, from the aforementioned movies, are hard to miss. Thambi Ramaiah can play such loud-mouthed do-gooder roles even in his sleep as we have seen him in movies like Mynaa and Kumki in a similar vein.
Prashant Narayanan comes across as the biggest revelation in the movie as the evil cop with his histrionics, wicked but charming smile and wide repertoire of expressions. A pity that his role is cut short abruptly, just before the climax kicks-in with full flow. His character in the movie keeps going on weed smoking trips and the audiences find these scenes pretty hilarious.
Salim Kumar provides some humor to the movie though he does go overboard. His characterization is cunning and is of one who is really street-smart and would do anything to save his skin.
All the sequences showing the highway burglars plying their trade, by taking a lot of risk, are among the highlights of the movie. Aari shows good athleticism in these scenes. There is extensive visual effects and DI work involved to show these scenes which invariably happen at night and in dim light.
Sathya has done a good job on the music but a few of the songs pop up as speed breakers in the second half and result in boredom.
Towards the end, the film loses its fizz big time due to some scenes which don’t make any impact whatsoever and leave you pondering. As a result, we leave the hall feeling that Nedunchaalai is a missed opportunity which provides just some fleeting impressive moments. Anyway, it is worth a watch once.view less