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Naan Mirugamaai Maara Movie Review: A promising thriller with middling results- Cinema express

Naan Mirugamaai Maara Movie Review: A promising thriller with middling results

Despite Sasikumar at the centre of things, Naan Mirugamaai Maara stays a simple revenge drama without becoming preachy even for a moment

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Published: 19th November 2022

At one point in Naan Mirugamaai Maara, Ghibran's background music gradually turns into the haunting Aasaiya Kaathula Dhoodhu Vittu number. It was a wonderful touch and a beautiful a-ha moment in a film that tries hard to offer a rather unique audio-visual experience. The makers also use non-linear narration to elevate the engagement factor of the film. The flashy edits and the one too many cross dissolves become distracting after a point, but there is no doubt that Naan Mirugamaai Maara is indeed a unique visual experience. But is just that enough? Similarly, having Sasikumar play a sound designer in the film is initially useful for the narrative. But it isn’t fleshed out enough. That's the biggest issue with director Sathyashivaa’s Naan Mirugamaai Maara. It tries many things, and that effort is there for all to see, but not all of them work.

Cast: Sasikumar, Hariprriya, Vikranth, Madhusudan Rao

Director: Sathyashivaa

Take, for instance, the cold open of the film. There is a prison system a la Vada Chennai, and we are introduced to the various players one by one with title animation, etc... But they are just actually bumped off soon after and we are just left with unnecessarily trying to remember their names. Nevertheless, Sathyasivaa does a brilliant job of introducing the primary players of the film. Be it Sasikumar's sound designer protagonist or the drug-addled antagonists, played by Vikranth and Appani Sarath among others, their introductions are smartly written. But here too, he stretches it a bit too much, and by the time, all of them are introduced, a sense of repetitiveness sets in. 

Despite Sasikumar at the centre of things, Naan Mirugamaai Maara stays a simple revenge drama without becoming preachy even for a moment. It is a common man succumbing to his animalistic traits to exact revenge for the death of a kin. This descent into tapping his basest instincts is well-conceptualised by the makers, and Sasikumar does a decent job of portraying the discomfort of it all. What is fascinating about Naan Mirugamaai Maara is how Sathyasivaa smartly uses the runtime. Things that happen over two hours in other films are wrapped up in under an hour in this film. It also means that a lot of things happen with very little breathing space. While it is okay for a potential thrill-a-minute film like this, unnecessary elements find their way into the narrative to ensure it crosses the 2-hour mark. 

The sudden bloating of the narrative, and expositions coming out of nowhere take away the sting from Naan Mirugamaai Maara. Certain conveniences too feel alien to the otherwise taut thriller. While it is understandable that the film doesn’t train the spotlight on anyone but Sasikumar, the peripheral characters are so overwhelmingly underwritten. This lack of exploration also makes us annoyed when a hoodwinking happens around the interval block that serves no purpose and is just force-fitted into the narrative for cheap thrills. Nevertheless, it is refreshing to see the stunt sequences befitting a common man (of course with slight embellishments because it is a star playing it), without resorting to anything over the top. 

Naan Mirugamaai Maara is a Sasikumar showreel, and he gets a lot more emotionally charged sequences than usual. His action sequences are emotional. His murder attempts are emotional. His investigation into his kin’s killers is emotional. There is a brief scene where he believes the antagonists have a compassionate side, and the earnestness of the character is brought out beautifully by Sasikumar. But when the proverbial hell breaks loose, the no-holds-barred approach to the revenge angle is well-explored even if it also results in a stretch that is well… a stretch. 

The gore and blood in the film might not appeal to all. We are seeing more such films come up that don’t quite dial down on the violence. So much so that, Naan Mirugamaai Maara comes with a disclaimer about violence and bloodshed. While this gratuitous violence and the graphic representation of it is disturbing on some levels, it is par for the course in a film like Naan Mirugamaai Maara. However, what doesn’t work in favour of the film is that the bloodshed in this film, at times, is present more as a shock value. It is not an asset by any means, and it is a shame that the violence neither wows us nor does it make things grotesque enough to make us squirm.

This violence, just like the character arcs of the leads, and many narrative choices in the film don’t always deliver on its promises. It is quite a shame because Naan Mirugamaai Maara could have been cut out of the same cloth as a John Wick or a Nobody, but the overt sentimentality and emotional prodding make it a rather middling experience
 

Rating:
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