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Movie Review: Naadodigal (2009) Back to Movie
Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam
Fans Rating: 86%%86%% 86% (49 votes)
Movie Still Sasikumar sure appears to be the golden boy of Tamil cinema right now. After literally exploding onto the scene (as director) with the raw and powerful Subramanyapuram and then producing the refreshingly fun Pasanga, he has moved to other side of the camera, taking up acting duties in Nadodigal. An ode to friendship, the film walks the line between realism and melodrama but does end up on the right side of that line overall.

Karunakaran(Sasikumar), Chandran(Vijay) and Pandi(Bharani) are thick friends, each having his own ambition and dream in life. Karunakaran, a B.A. (History) graduate, is trying for a government job since that's the condition his uncle has laid out for Karuna to wed his uncle's daughter(Ananya). Chandran's dream is to run a computer institute while Pandi is trying hard to go abroad. Karuna's friend Saravanan shows up and when Karuna and his 2 friends learn of his love affair, they decide to help him.

In the opening scene, Sasikumar, who is trying to join the police force, visually sizes up the height of the potential competitor standing before him in the line. This is humorous and tells us what joke is. But he then proceeds to point out the height disadvantage explicitly with his hand to stress the fact. He repeats the same - convey the situation with his eyes and then make it obvious with his hand - once he moves back to stand behind someone shorter than him. This sequence highlights the fact that subtlety is not one of director Samudhirakani's strengths. He is a director who likes to spell things out to make sure everyone gets the point. But this actually has the opposite effect, diluting the impact. This happens several times throughout the movie and is the biggest reason for the film not having the same impact as Subramanyapuram.

While the movie's focus is on friendship, it doesn't aim to pursue it at the expense of everything else. The fact that all 3 protagonists have a goal in life ensures that we aren't subjected to another movie where the heroes while away their time smoking, singing and dancing, with their only goal being to show how strong their friendship is. And though Sasikumar's family is familiar, with a frustrated dad and a supportive mom, other characters, like Vijay's dad or Bharani's dad, have individuality and aren't submerged under the shadows of the three heroes.

The sequence where Sasikumar and friends snatch Saravanan's lover is a bravura sequence with enough suspense and tension to make a thriller proud. More importantly, the actions of the three friends here illustrate the importance they give to friendship. Very few words are spoken during the time but the intensity with which they perform their tasks works much better than words ever could have, to show us their desire to give their friend what he wants and see him happy.

Melodrama takes over as we see the friends suffer the repercussions of their act. While the first consequences they suffer because of their act really jolt us, things get repetitive after that. There is that aforementioned need to really drive the point home, only in this case its the emotional state of the protagonists rather than a joke. But the result is the same. The initial impact wears off and the sympathy the threesome earned gets quite thin by the time their troubles end.

While the film's core point about friendship does come through, its message becomes a bit jumbled towards the end as it appears to say that friends have a say in the outcome of their selfless acts. But Samudhirakani manages to convey even this in an interesting and acceptable manner and rounds off the film on a humorous note.

Sasikumar has had enough experience in Subramanyapuram to play the devoted friend and fits the role well. He isn't very expressive but has good screen presence. Vijay is mostly serious while Bharani gets a few laughs as the guy looking for love at every chance. Ananya initially overacts terribly with expressions that would make even Jyothika inexpressive but makes an impression once things get serious. Neha looks pretty but doesn't have much to do.

Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam