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Naane Varuvean

Naane Varuvean Movie Review

by rameshe

Critic’s Rating : / 5

Naane Varuvean Movie Review : Dhanush and Selvaraghavan’s moody thriller is let down by a tepid second half

Synopsis: A father finds out that his teenager daughter is possessed, and the only way he can save her is by doing the ghost’s bidding, which will mean an encounter with his long-separated twin – who happens to be a psycho killer.

Review:
Naane Varuvean begins with a prologue that involves twin brothers, Kathir and Prabhu, with one of them seeming to be mentally unstable. Abusive parenting and an encounter with a psychopathic kidnapper only worsens things. It begins to feel as if Selvaraghavan is paying homage to Kamal Haasan’s Aalavandhan. But then, the rest of the first half proceeds like a homage to William Friedkin’s The Exorcist by way of James Wan.

We are introduced to Prabhu (Dhanush, who somehow manages to hide his star persona and comes across as a normal family man) and his family, which includes his wife Bhuvana (Indhuja) and daughter Sathya (Hiya Davey). Everything seems to be rosy and Prabhu’s colleague Guna (Yogi Babu) even mentions how he is jealous of Prabhu’s life. But then, things get eerie. Prabhu sees Sathya speaking to someone in the middle of the night and is not sure if she’s going insane or if, as the girl tells him, she’s actually speaking to a supernatural being.

Selvaraghavan directs these portions in a minimalist style that is quite a contrast to what we saw him do in his previous film Nenjam Marappathillai. The sparseness of the moodily lit frames, the handful of supporting characters and Yuvan Shankar Raja’s eerie score, ensure that there is a constant sense of dread. And when things start getting serious, the filmmaking reaches a crescendo, and by the time we get to the interval, the director brings us to the edge of our seats.

But just when we expect the second half to deliver us such moments, especially with the promised return of Kathir (Dhanush, who plays this cold-blooded killer with relish), the film begins to lose intensity. From the world of Selvaraghavan, we find ourselves transported to generic psycho killer territory. And events unfold in a very convenient fashion, offering us hardly any surprise. Instead of the craziness of Aalavandhan and the chills of a horror film, we get something rather tame and tepid. The supporting characters, too, have hardly anything to do beyond their functional roles. We get a rather long-winded flashback involving Kathir, his speech-impaired wife Madhuri (Elli AvrRam) and his twin sons, glorification of a problematic character, and an underwhelming climax that is left open-ended just so there is room for a sequel.

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