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Naachiyaar Review: A Superhuman Cop Out To Score Brownie Points

Planning to watch Naachiyaar this weekend? Read our review first.

Gautaman Bhaskaran |

Updated:February 17, 2018, 11:42 AM IST
Naachiyaar Review: A Superhuman Cop Out To Score Brownie Points
Image courtesy: YouTube
The essential difference between Tamil and Malayalam cinema relates to make-believe. Admittedly, cinema was once all about creating the magically unbelievable – and seducing audiences to accept it, endorse it and even promote it. And out of this emerged supermen, super women and even divinity. If an N T Rama Rao in Andhra Pradesh once vowed viewers with his godly avatars on screen, which later transformed him into the State Chief Minister, Tamil pictures created men like M G Ramachandran (who became the Chief Minister), and are now pushing Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan with tall political ambitions. We have even Tamil stars like Vijay in the wings, waiting to play politician in real life. The cinema from Kerala has seldom resorted to this, with the result that it is edging past Tamil movies – still loathe to let go the temptation to make men and women into some kind of super, super human beings.

Take, for instance, director Bala's latest outing, Naachiyaar – where actress Jyothika, plays the title role, dons the khaki and turns into a punching, boxing being. She is abusive, contrary to what the Tamil Nadu police have been strictly told not to resort to. As Naachiyaar makes a loud entry into her police station, she is not just rude, but also foul-mouthed and aggressive.

Moments later, an informer tips Naachiyaar about a missing teenage girl. The cop swings into action, takes the wheel of her vehicle (with her official driver left behind) and goes looking for Arasi (Ivana). But the girl is whisked away by her uncle just as Naachiyaar storms into the frame. A chase ensues till the uncle's van is intercepted, and out gets the policewoman to beat the daylight out of him.

Highly, highly improbable. No cop will dare this. No woman cop, for sure. But on screen, Jyothika has to be given that medal for bravery, and a halo has to be placed around her. For, only then will she have a chance to win, well, maybe a political fight some day.

But given the kind of mindset in Tamil Nadu, and the huge level of awareness among the youth here, producers and writers must understand that such daredevilry is counter-productive these days – when there is zero tolerance for police brutality among the population, and, more importantly, when people have begun to feel that cinema encourages many an evil.

Why, stalking as well. In Naachiyaar, G V Prakash who essays a poor boy, Kaathu, is seen following Arasi. But yes, here his stalking pays, and she reciprocates. But look at the newspapers today which have reported the horrific incident of a dejected stalker setting on fire the girl he wanted to wed. When she repulsed his advances, he tried killing her. With 70 per cent burns, she is battling for life. And this is not the first of its kind in Tamil Nadu.

But, of course, in Naachiyaar, Arasi and Kaathu live happily ever after, thanks to the policewoman – who ensures that the couple unite. The film, though, begins with a rape case being foisted on Kaathu after Arasi is found pregnant. He is shoved into a juvenile home with its cliched image of boy bullies. Naachiyaar takes Arasi under her wings, and sees her through her pregnancy.

However, Bala's script -- admittedly more optimistic than his earlier ventures – seems all confused. The plot meanders from sexual assault to romance, and finally, we are thrust with the ridiculous. The child's DNA does not match that of its father! And who is this new guy?

The only redeeming feature in Naachiyaar are fine performances. Ivan is hauntingly refreshing, and Prakash plays the boy from the slums with natural ease. But Jyothika overdoes, and fails to impress.

(Gautaman Bhaskaran is an author, commentator and movie critic)

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