Nethraa Review: An awful suspense drama that leaves you cringing
The director bombards you with songs that have objectionable lyrics, and rehashes a dozen scenes from yesteryear films in the name of comedy
A Venkatesh's Nethraa is a film that takes the audience a bit too much for granted. The director bombards us with songs that have objectionable lyrics, rehashes a dozen scenes from yesteryear films in the name of comedy, mocks crossdressers, and romanticises sexual abuse. All of this being done in the name of entertainment is nothing short of a crime.
Director: A Venkatesh
Cast: Vinay Rai, Thaman Kumar, Subhiksha and Riythvika
The story revolves around three friends--Velu (Thaman Kumar), Nethraa (Subhiksha) and Vikram (Vinay Rai). These men are close buddies who take insults as an expression of love. For instance, one points at the other and sings, "Ne friend illa mama.." (You are not my friend, but a pimp), and the latter gleefully sings back, "Aamam naan decent aana mama.." (Yes, I'm a decent pimp). The lead pair, Velu and Nethraa, who refer to intimacy as kichilika for some weird joy, decide to elope and get married. Vikram promises to help the couple and invites them to Canada.
A series of random events happen upon their arrival and Velu goes missing. Unsurprisingly, it is revealed within the next few scenes that Vikram is the mastermind behind the evil plan, and his motive is to take revenge on the couple. Do Velu and Nethraa get back to each other and escape the traps of Vikram? The uninspiring answers to this make up the rest of the story.
Revenge dramas are neither new to Tamil cinema nor its audience. But the treatment of the story is what makes a film stand apart. Usually, the avenger is the protagonist with a depressing flashback, but in Nethraa, it is the antagonist, and the reason for his vengeance is just silly.
The scenes where Vikram sedates Nethraa and abuses her become icky and unbearable after a point due to the offensive romanticisation. The only other woman character, Jessica (played by Riythvika), is so poorly written that she comes off like a video game extra. It's understood that she's the only accomplice of Vikram with all her purposes oriented around him. After a while, things get bat-shit crazy and she even bites Vikram's arm upon his request! I wondered if the film's promotional material had actually said Riythvika 'kadikum' instead of 'nadikum'. It's high time Tamil writers and directors come up with roles that actually give female actors a platform to deliver a solid performance.
Witnessing A Venkatesh, a filmmaker who has been in the industry for three decades, make such a film is, to put it lightly, disheartening.