Production: Aaju, C Soundarrajan
Cast: Aari, Shivada Nair, Thambi Ramaiah
Music: C Sathya
Background score: C Sathya
Cinematography: Rajavel Olhiveeran
Dialogues: RS Ramakrishnan
Stunt choreography: Dilip Subbarayan, Super Subbrayan
Lyrics: Mani Amuthan
Distribution: Red Giant Movies
A highway, a tiny village around it, a few thieves and a pretty lady – Nedunchalai hinges on these four primary drivers that wheel us into the doors of an engrossing tale. The movie is packed with antagonism and the characters that are featured in the movie are predictably pivotal (The good turning bad and vice versa).
Aari’s toned physique does justice to the bold and daring Tarpai Murugan, he plays in the film and he pulls his character off smoothly. The robbery scene that introduces Murugan into the movie is an interesting portion that has enough glue to fix you on to your seats. The sequences that follow are a hodgepodge of events that travel around love, hate, vengeance and betrayal.
Director Krishna knows his onions as far as the directorial department is concerned. The extraction of expressions from the lead cast as well as some of the supporting actors is tidy and the execution of work from the camera and editing territories are brilliant.
The movie has some amazing visuals that deserve huge thumbs up and there seems to be a fair amount of effort rendered in the DI. Kishore's editing and Santhanam's art direction stand out as good pieces of work in their own leagues - the usage of the delivery auto rickshaw that was used in the late 1980's being an interesting point out in the art department.
Shivada, who plays Manga - a bold Malayali woman, has stepped out from the usual ‘bubbly’ characters we often get to see in Tamil cinema. She is attractive and lovable yet bold and daring, who doesn’t bother to think twice before breaking the legs of anyone who misbehaves with her. Her voice and accent suits the Keralite she plays and her performance is worth a round of applause.
Salim Kumar’s idiosyncratic characterization brings out a few unexpected giggles although the role he plays is that of a meanie. His perfect balance between his subtle comic nuances and his villainess churns out an inscrutable fondness towards his character.
Krishna has been deft enough to portray the three different time periods that Nedunchalai travels across – which include portions around the early 1970’s, the early 1990’s and the present time. The interesting inclusion of MGR’s death news and the comment on Kamal’s appearance in Nayagan is an astute way of conveying to the audience the period the story revolves around.
Although the movie has a few goodies to offer, it lacks those moments that can blow you over. The film is a simple two and a half hour travel on a long highway that doesn’t have too many twists, turns or humps that your eyes might want to look out for.
Bankrolled by Aaju and Soundararajan and distributed into theaters by Udhayanidhi Stalin’s Red Giant Movies, Nedunchalai is an interesting tale that pleases you with some neatly captured visuals.
VERDICT: Nedunchalai is a bold and compelling tale about lesser-known highway bandits. A watch worthy movie that has picturesque photography and some good acting on offer.