Cast: Suriya, Sai Pallavi, Rakul Preet Singh
One must give it to Tamil cinema for its novel stories and extraordinary plots. But eventually, it slips, tumbles and goes down the drain. The script, narration and execution are often abysmal. And director Selvaraghavan's (Pudhupettai, 7G Rainbow Colony) latest outing, this time with star Suriya in a political adventure, NGK, is undoubtedly timely, given the kind of administration Tamil Nadu has been seeing in the past few years. Also, the film touches on organic farming, and how vested interests – both political and non-political – place enormous hurdles in the way.
Suriya's NGK or Nandha Gopalan Kumaran (the movie's title is an abbreviated form of his name) is an engineering graduate, who returns to his small town home, gets married to Geetha (Sai Pallavi, who gets a badly written part and bad makeup) and lives with his father and mother. But the urge to do good to his townsfolk pushes him to get into organic farming – which is soon destroyed by those who thrive on traditional methods that encourage, may celebrate, middlemen, to the detriment of consumers.
Failure and desperation push NGK into the political arena with its freeloaders, schemers and rank amoral men. Much of film revolves around its protagonist's rise from a common man to political stardom. A big yawn.
We have seen this ever so often on screen, but yes the idea of organic farming and its huge benefits for men is something that I do not remember in Tamil movies. Corruption in high places, particularly in the corridors of political power may not be exactly new, but the unholy nexus between big business or corporates and politicians has been underlined by writer-director Selvaraghavan in bright red. Courage indeed.
What is sad, though, and gets me impatient is the path Selvaraghavan takes. He peppers his narrative with unnecessary song-and-dances and boringly long monologues – which are inserted into the film in the belief that they engage and entertain the masses. But in the theatre where I saw NGK, the audience appeared clearly bored. If there were hoots and claps, they were few and far between. People are no longer looking for an overly theatrical melodramatic fare.
And Suriya will never let go his he-man image as he takes on dozens of men in a fight sequence – choreographed well, but which seemed outdated in this time and age when cinema has got more real and authentic. The one actor who made an impression was Rakul Preet Singh, who plays Vanathi, a smartly turned-out election strategist, who falls in love with NGK. However, the way this extra-marital affair has been handled is nothing short of ridiculous. A dream song tells us all. Or, supposed to tell us all, and we are told to gauge the seriousness of this relationship from the way Geetha reacts. She can smell Vanathi's perfume on her husband's clothes, and when the two women meet, the wife asks whether the woman in business suit uses perfume A!
Honestly, NGK begins with a certain idealism, a certain promise only to degenerate into a silly farce, which uses garish styles and caricatured characters to take us on a 148-minute ride.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran is an author, commentator and movie critic)
Rating: 1.5/ 5