Nenjamundu Nermaiyundu Odu Raja
Nenjamundu Nermaiyundu Odu Raja: A Sincere Effort That Gets Wasted By The Lack Of Basic Cinematic Sensibilities
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Director Karthik Venugopalan’s Nenjamundu Nermaiyundu Odu Raja is a sincere film, but sadly it isn’t an effective one. It tries whole-heartedly to be a light-hearted yet thoughtful entertainer but all it ends up being is a two-hour version of the Youtube Spoof that these cast members already put up. There is the effort, but none of it is directed towards producing fresh content or competitive aesthetic quality. Without the presence of a well-defined focus, the film takes bits and pieces of real-life political fiascos and presents you with a satire on these very incidents that have become yesterday’s news. Towards the end, the film unleashes a social message upon the audience, but this message doesn’t reach out to people due to many logical inconsistencies and the absence of understanding the basics of film language.
Prankstar Shiva (Rio) and Vera Level Vicky (Vigneshkanth) run a Youtube Channel. They prank people and generate views for their channel to make a lump sum of money. One day, they meet a business magnate aka Jippakaran (Radha Ravi) who they fail to prank, the man who is impressed with their efforts offers them all the money they could dream of if they successfully execute the three tasks that he puts in front of them. Whether or not the spunky duo completes these tasks and wins their share of money forms the crux of the film.
There is no doubt that the team behind Nenjamundu Nermaiyundu Odu Raja has given this film their sincere best. But sadly, filmmaking and the perception of visual language cannot be evaluated on intention alone, can it? This is why the flaws in the film become much bigger and more obvious as the narrative unravels. If you want an example, the film’s core premise by itself is one. Isn’t it absurd that a wealthy business offers them money in exchange for the completion of three tasks? Do you know what is even more absurd? The three tasks by themselves. One of the tasks involves making an MLA out of a mentally challenged person. In which universe is this funny? It is insensitive for sure, but definitely not funny. When the core premise itself is this silly, how can you relate to the characters or care about what happens to them? Sure, comedy films have enough leeway to take logic for granted. But there has to be a boundary drawn somewhere. Without a limit, the laughs in the film are traded for countless eye-rolling moments.
Even if you are a fan of these Youtube stars, you will notice many narrative inconsistencies in the film. It begins as a light-hearted comedy and shifts gears to become a political satire before finally metamorphosing into a full-fledged drama film. These tonal inconsistencies make it impossible for you to relate to the proceedings in the film. One minute, you are exposed to B grade comedy that has the characters gawking at their house owner’s wife and the next minute, you are presented with scenes that deliver social commentary on how people always complain, but when it comes to action, no one wants to get their hands dirty. The transition from a comedy to a drama should’ve been backed with much more convincing sequences that justifies such a shift in the character’s outlook. Here, till the end, all you see is the old-school manner of using a comic whose T-Shirts read funny one-liners. Suddenly, when these characters spout social commentary, it is hard to take them seriously.
The makers of Nenjamundu Nermaiyundu Odu Raja have tried to stage a film that is both light-hearted and yet provokes thought. However, most of the concepts the film communicates are more verbal than visual and without a credible visual treatment, the film appears like an extension of the Youtube star’s already existing spoof shows. Even the comedy is always a hit and miss. While some of the jokes bring them laughs, most of the jokes either feel repetitive or insensitive. The same goes for the emotional drama too, it appears too over-the-top to feel relatable or realistic.
Rio is confident in his debut as an actor and is reasonably good in both emotional and comical scenes. Most of Vigneshkanth’s one-liners are well received by the audience but his Tee-shirt tactic is a cliche as it is simply overused in Tamil cinema. As Nisha, Shirin Kanchwala doesn’t have enough scope to perform and she delivers quite an amateur performance. Her lip-sync is off in a couple of scenes too. Many popular Youtube sensations make a short appearance and none of them are memorable enough to be mentioned.
The film’s staging is extremely sub-par. The work of the costumes and make-up department is shoddy and the background score is jarring. The cinematography and production design are of poor quality.
On the whole, Nenjamundu Nermaiyundu Odu Raja is a sub-par entertainer that could’ve been better with a much more advanced understanding of the visual medium. Without it, the film is an extension of the Youtube Sensations spoof which would be all the more irrelevant to those who are not familiar with their channels.