'NOTA' - as soon as I heard the title of the movie, I thought that it might be a politically correct film that sugarcoats the current political scene across Tamil Nadu and makes the hero reform the society within a span of few hours! I was quite wrong. The movie though treats the hero as an amateur politician; it had no qualms in taking a dig at the current political scenario almost in every scene. Let's see how!
Varun (Vijay Devarakonda), a party animal, is introduced with a disco number with all the girls and booze around him. He is made to take the reigns of the chief minister of Tamil Nadu by his father who is the current CM. His life changes, and he couldn't withstand the political pressure as he is ignorant about politics and politicians. He seeks the help of Mahendiran (Sathiyaraj), a senior journalist. With his power and clout, he then wants to reform the society.
An ordinary man becoming a chief minister is not new to Tamil cinema, as director Shankar had toyed around with this unusual idea in 'Mudhalvan' almost a couple of decades back. In 'Mudhalvan' the hero who becomes the CM for a day was showcased as a politically and socially literate journalist who utilises his power to the fullest. However, in here, the common man who is in question is the one with a golden heart (he is shown to have an affinity for a children's orphanage) and is someone who is having the least exposure in politics. He wants to stay away from it.
So, with this approach, director Anand Shankar wants to take a common man's stand on politics and how changes could be brought about. Of course, Vijay Devarakonda as the 'Rowdy' CM was a great choice for the role. His role as 'Arjun Reddy' still lingering in the minds of the people in Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Andhra, a bilingual in Tamil and Telugu could not have asked for a better period to release. He was handsome as ever and has delivered a decent performance in a role that wasn't too challenging.
Sathyaraj as Mahendiran had the standard 'mentor' role that required him to guide the hero in his ups and downs. He was the modern version of 'Kattappa'. Nasser as the wicked chief minister was another standard selection and had nothing special to offer. MS Bhaskar as the CM's sidekick had a variation as an old Muslim man who is doused in the system for a long time that he loses track of any morality per se. Sanchana in a critical role as the opposition leader was a smart selection as well.
The parts that didn't work well were the ones that had the wishful political resolution in steroids. E.g. the part where Rowdy CM goes rogue in the middle of the night to party or the stretch where he employs his overseas friend to trace his father's assets in Panama. All these appeared as if they were left better on paper than on screen. The rush to the climax with the real villain doing things in a jiff was something not so believable.
The movie could be watched for its audacious political commentary on the current political scene and Vijay Devarakonda's 'who cares' attitude that went well with his portrayal of a 'Rowdy CM', which is an official recognition in Tamil Nadu's neo-political ecosystem. Director Anand Shankar deserves a pat on the back for his sheer audacity!
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