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Kannai Nambathey Movie Review: Unintentional humour spoil the smarts in this thriller- Cinema express

Kannai Nambathey Movie Review: Unintentional humour spoil the smarts in this thriller

A badly staged thriller with disappointing performances

Published: 17th March 2023
Kannai Nambathey Movie Review: Unintentional humour spoil the smarts in this thriller

Remember the kidnap scene in Sundar C's evergreen comedy of errors, Ullathai Allitha, where the Karthik-Goundamani duo and Senthil-Paandu duo try to outsmart each other and kidnap Manivannan? No matter how many times we watch that scene, it always makes us laugh. In director Mu Maran's latest, Kannai Nambathey, we have Udhayanidhi Stalin trying to outsmart a bunch of adversaries. The end results are hilarious too. However, Kannai Nambathey is a serious crime thriller. This might come across as a harsh criticism on a film that keeps trying and throws a brand new twist every tenth minute. Alas, the twists feel random, and the film's relentless urge to be extra only makes it feel desperate.

Cast: Udhayanidhi Stalin, Prasanna, Bhumika, Srikanth
Director: Mu Maran

Blackmailers asking their victims to drop the ransom money in a dustbin, in order to avoid direct confrontation isn't a novel idea in cinema, but Maran adds a little twist to this that makes the scene rather notable. He makes the blackmailers carry a dog-shaped dustbin to the spot, sitting awkwardly on a bike. Within minutes, they get cheated by another gang and get attacked using the same dustbin. This might have come across better in a deliberate comedy, but sadly, this scene unveils during a crucial portion of the story which is actually aimed at keeping us at the age of our seats.

Kannai Nambadhey is filled with dreadful events like murder, abduction and rape. Homicides happen, bodies are found, teen girls are drugged and inseminated, and dead people come back to life, and yet, there is hardly any shock value as the characters themselves hardly bat an eyelid. For instance, a character ends up killing a girl in an attempt to rape her; terrified by the unexpected change of events, he calls up his girlfriend and makes a quick confession. But the girl on the other end is all cool and listens as if he had made some trivial mistake, and goes on to deliver him an escape plan. Of course, these are cold-blooded people, but it's hard to fathom how they remain unaffected by life-altering events like murders.

Just like Iravukku Aayiram Kangal, Mu Maran once again sticks to the Tamil pocket novel-style narrative. But a major problem is staging. Even the most outlandish ideas turn more effective in these mini-novels because the visuals are left to our imagination, but in the case of films, the director becomes the eyes and ears of the audience, so it is very crucial that his screenplay and frames keep feeding them with only necessary cues.

Kannai Nambadhey fails with visual storytelling too. For starters, the frames which are supposed to amplify the tension, linger on unnecessary details that add to the unintentional humour. During a long sequence, Udhayanidhi's Arun and Prasanna's Somu are tailed by an informer who captures their criminal actions on camera. This person who is supposed to execute this stealthily, carries the DSLR proudly like a trophy around and during multiple instances, even makes direct eye contact with Arun.

Another criminal in Kannai Nambathey gasses a bunch of orphan kids and mass-sedates them for a dangerous surgery. When he is caught in the act, he says, "Pasanga nimadhiya thoongi romba naal aachu, adhaan marundhu potten!" The film is never short of such audacious, strange exchanges.  

It is quite an achievement to narrate the story of Kannai Nambathey. At one point in the film, Aathmika's Divya, who is overwhelmed by the overflow of details in the story, questions Arun about the random names he just mentioned and how they are related, to which Arun pauses for a moment and says, "Adhu unaku sonna puriyadhu, appram solren." I will remember Kannai Nambathey for a really long time for its labyrinthine storyline that confounded even a character in the film

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