The first bit of Naan Ee is corny and purposefully silly. It heads in just the direction you're expecting it to go. The presentation is refined through all of this, so you sit tight and wait for something to happen. Naani, the young-at-heart hero is killed off by the omnipotent Villain, Sudeep in a move of frustration for not being able to sleep with his ladylove, Bindu (Samantha). Later that night, his restless spirit makes its way into the egg of an unborn housefly. When the egg hatches, he's reincarnated as a housefly. An absolute game-changer. If you've made it here, good. You're in for a ride.
It's funny how a tiny housefly can create such chaos in the life of a powerful, corrupt businessman. Naani's edge lies in its shortcomings. Tiny and agile it sits on Sudeep's face, enters and exists through both ears at will and keeps buzzing around his face. He loses sleep, he loses peace and is eventually driven to his wit's end. He mummifies himself in a blanket and goes to sleep; only to wake up to a day's long worth of torment. It's ridiculously funny. Naani has an iconic moment before the interval, where he asserts power and stands testimony to its own victory. There's no way you won't share in this little fly's success.
Naan Ee is essentially a one-joke movie; but one you can laugh endlessly at. And that wouldn't have been possible without a villain as comically hot-headed as Sudeep is here. He lives in a fortress that's guarded by tough-guys, there are guns arrayed on the wall and the glass is unbreakable. Yet his only hope lies in a bottle of pesticide, one he holds close to his chest. But Naani gets to him, every time. With increasing desperation Sudeep reinforces his fortress with some sort of an X-ray scanner and a pesticide that's injected at the entrance every time the main door is opened. Filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli has some crazy ideas.
When all fails, a Tantrik is summoned to exorcise the house of restless spirits. We've gotten comfortable around the film. We want to see Naani torment Sudeep and new characters are unwelcome. However, what this Tantrik gives rise to makes it totally worth it- an aerial chase. Two birds commanded by the sage are out to get Naani. It's good, racy, fun; something it wouldn't have been without the throbbing score in the background. But why introduce Santhanam in that one scene? Total downer. We're having enough fun in this fare that's taking Kollywood to its own extreme of ludicrousness. We don't want any known faces coming in and ruining the show by doing what is expected. It's good he disappears after that.
I like that the heroine works as a microscopic artist, an apt profession that is able to assist Naani in his vengeful endeavours. I'm also glad that Rajamouli resisted the temptation to make Naani anthropomorphic. Who knows how that would've turned out? Observing Naani and his antics is enough pleasure. There are fine technicians on board and while there might be a few problems with the size proportions and scaling, they do a great job. Naani's point-of-view shot shows us his compound vision. Nice.
S.S. Rajamouli is a fan of this kind of loud cinema and he's seen it all. He realizes that Tamil Cinema rests on stupidity. So why not push it to the extremes? Nevertheless, his fluttering hero is smarter than all the Kollywood heroes that it has been moulded by. Even when out of options, Naani creates new opportunities to enter Sudeep's fortress and turns it inside out.
Critic: Rohit Ramachandran
(3.5 / 5) : Very Good