Nenjuku Needhi Tamil Movie

Feature Film | 2022 | Action
Critics:
Nenjukku Neethi seems to be more focused on getting the message out than on tonality and theme, which proves to be a huge setback for the movie.
May 22, 2022 By Baranidharan Sivasankaran

SHOWTIMES: INDIA  

"Nenjukku Neethi", directed by Arun Raja Kamaraj is an official remake of the Hindi film, "Article 15". Having watched both the films, herein my review would be sprinkled with comparisons. Article 15 of the Indian Constitution prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. Before this, were there films made to instill this theme? Of course, yes! So what is so different with this film and why did the makers want to remake a Bollywood movie, when the theme of caste discrimination is so rampant in the North than in the South? Well, I could think of only one reason - actor and politician Udhayanithi Stalin!


"Nenjukku Neethi" is a story that revolves around a small town in Pollachi where 3 girls from the lower caste are gang-raped and murdered. Vijayaraghavan IPS (Udhayanithi) who is transferred to the place, is miffed by the caste discrimination and the bureaucratic pressures that he is being made to yield. He begins to investigate the case and brings the guilty to justice. He is morally supported by his wife, Adhithi (Tanya), who is like a shrink, giving out timely gyaans!


Having watched the original, the rawness that dominated the frames in "Article 15" has been unfortunately polished to give it a more clean and refined look. That is the biggest setback for "Nenjukku Neethi". Also, there is an inherent difference in the mindset with which such caste issues are approached in the North and South. With Periyar and Dravidian philosophies dominating Tamil Nadu for decades, the caste discrimination by and large is relatively less pronounced. It is not perennial unlike the suburbs of UP or Bihar or elsewhere in the North.


For a large part, Udhayanithi looked fine as an IPS officer, thanks to his lean and athletic frame. However, having seen him in light and fluid roles in the past, the stiffness that he brings on screen for this role was artificial. The lines that he and Tanya share were anything but natural. He looked more comfortable doing the boy-next-door roles where he could be more relatable. Films such as these require more trained and seasoned actors to pull off a more convincing act.


Aari as the rebel leader who tries to take the system head-on was fine. His offscreen image as an activist and a do-gooder helped him carry forward this role. Though he had little screen time, he utilized the screen space well. Suresh Chakaravarthi as the wicked inspector was an apt casting. Once again, the offscreen image of a personality has been leveraged well! Mayilsamy, Abdul, Shivani, Ilavarasu, and Ramesh Tilak form the supporting cast, and they fit in well in their respective roles.


Music by Dhibu Ninan Thomas brings those eerie moments to life. The cinematography by Dinesh Krishnan had a refined tone as I mentioned earlier and that spoiled the tonality of the film. The movie doesn't lean much on technical aspects as it is more focused to get the message out, loud and clear.


The thrill element in the movie was not maintained well. We get to know what has happened to the missing girl and who the culprits were. Time and again we were given a glimpse of what it means to be born into a lower caste. But the impact is marred as there have been many more hard-hitting films in the past by "Pariyerum Perumal". So, there was nothing new to be told.


So, this film might impress a few who have not watched "Article 15". For the ones like me who have watched the original, "Nenjukku Neethi" is a letdown as it does not seem to belong to our landscape.


Baranidharan Sivasankaran

   

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