I walked out of the theatre that had just screened Nil Gavani Sellathey thinking, "Wow, finally." After an entire month of film releases being nothing short of crap, this is just what I needed. Before I saw it, I read online that it was inspired from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I had to check out the trailer, which turned out to be impressive enough for me to invest some expectation in the film. "Hmm, looks good," I thought.
Five friends (two couples and a fifth wheel) are planning a trip. It doesn't start right there though; it spends the first forty minutes letting us peer into their lives. After bickering with each other, they decide on going to a small village called Thellur choosing to leave their cell phones behind. En route, they ask a passerby for directions and that's when they become part of ongoing trouble in the district.
For the first forty-five minutes, director Anand Chakravarthy gives the audience what they want to see and then he breaks into new territory. Characterization is well done; every character in the film has attributes that the others don't have. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre had characterization but didn't have character development. You know who the characters are but you don't know how they've become what they are. Nil Gavani Sellathey has just as good characterization but in developing the characters, it exceeds the original. It provides explanation for everything adding more depth. It walks the line between horror exploitation and character drama without getting melodramatic. Few events might seem questionable but the characters have been developed well enough to make them possible, if not probable. The film's pace slows down and stalls to build the suspense, which is just why it works. While the acting is adequate, it is the sound design and Selvaganesh's score that play a major part at driving the film. J Lakshman's Cinematography is exotic with stunning visuals, mainly because of the sepia tint. You want to pause each scene and just stare. The film will give you jolts that you haven't felt in a while but due to its technical achievement, it lacks the raw intrinsic nature of the original. I'm not complaining; just wish it had more of a bang.
Every member of the crew demonstrates talent but this is Anand Chakravarthy's show. He succeeds in both the acting and the directing departments. He has a lot of tricks up his sleeve with which he misdirects you, again and again. Tamil Cinema has good directors but hardly any good screenwriters. With this film, Chakravarthy qualifies as both. He isn't interested in simply reporting events and telling you what happened. He wants to tell you how those things happened. Chakravarthy, continue your journey as an independent filmmaker and don't let bags of cash make you succumb into making Kollywood trash.
Nil Gavani Sellathey, inspired from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, is a hell of a remake. It is the most significant film that's come out this year.
Critic: Rohit Ramachandran
(4 / 5) : Very Good