The synopsis of the new Sony Liv release Naduvan is an interesting one. You have the old Saheb Biwi Gangster texture getting a different approach as it gets intertwined with another parallel plot. So, you wouldn’t really wonder why they decided to make this movie. Morally grey areas and the coincidences tightening the thrill factor make this idea an interesting one for sure. But when it comes to the making, over stylization and the inability to make things look surprising make this film a dull one in totality.
The story is built around the family of Karthik, a tea estate manager in Kodaikanal. He and his friend Shiva are running this company, but Shiva is not at all invested in the business. The obsession with making the business flourish has caused issues in Karthik’s personal life, and his wife isn’t happy with the way he prioritizes work over family. Amidst all this, Guru, son of a close relative of Karthik, arrives at the factory for a job. Things that unfold after the arrival of Guru are what we witness in Naduvan.
Written by Sharran Kumar, the idea is to create two parallel plots which will eventually help the movie attain this morally correct + happy ending feel. But the narrative is emotionally so flat that at no point would you feel a curiosity. What they reveal as suspense is perhaps the first thing we would imagine. Then it’s just a series of events that never evokes any interest in us. The crime track that has a police investigation feels almost like a track written later to distract the audience.
Bharath as Karthik is way too animated, in my opinion. His reaction after realizing the truth and the way he portrays the workaholic nature of his character feels very unreal. Gokul Anand as Shiva also makes the character look like a caricature version of the spoiled brat stereotype. Aparna Vinod doesn’t have much of a challenge here. Baala, who played the role of Guru, was perhaps the only one who managed to find the correct pitch of the assigned character.
People can’t be trusted, everyone is wearing a mask, and the real face is behind that mask, etc., are the philosophical outbursts we see in the movie. And frankly, we do not see enough in the film to make Karthik go that intellectual about life. It’s almost like Sharran Kumar got these interesting dialogues first, and then he tried to make a story that can accommodate that philosophy. But what he comes up with is a partially muddled and largely unexciting idea. The cinematography prefers settings that project the characters’ isolated feel and a bit of visual lushness.
Even though it wasn’t that unique in terms of the basic premise, Naduvan was an idea that could have been a gripping experience if narrated properly. But the beats given to the film by Sharran Kumar are far too familiar. Even the chapter-wise narration felt like a flawed attempt done during the post-production to give us an impression that something extremely complicated is about to happen.
Even though it wasn’t that unique in terms of the basic premise, Naduvan was an idea that could have been a gripping experience if narrated properly.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended