The state of today’s politics is best illustrated by a scene in NGK when the eponymous protagonist, Nanda Gopalan Kumaran (Suriya turning up, as always), returns to his family after consenting to join a political party. You’d think he just told them he’s been diagnosed with terminal illness. The wife, Geetha (Sai Pallavi), is in a state of stunned silence. The annoying loud mother (Uma Padmanabhan) is convinced her son has signed his death warrant. The father, Ramanan (Nizhalgal Ravi)… well, he’s a mute observer, as he is in the rest of the film. Horror fills this middle-class residence before Geetha finally assures him — even if it rings artificial, “Kumara, poda kanna. Nee erangina, saakadai kooda suthamaagidum.” You can’t blame her for not knowing then that a more appropriate line would have been, “Indha saakadai unna kooda azhukaakidum.” A constant problem with NGK is how you are never sure exactly how grey Kumaran has become. He starts off white all right, and then is shown sliding into grey. But you’re never sure if he’s actually grey, or if he’s pretending to be grey. This should have been better explored, given it’s at the heart of this film.
Cast: Suriya, Sai Pallavi, Rakul Preet, Bala Singh, Ilavarasu
I’m already seeing comparisons with Pudupettai, and I can see the temptation. Both NGK and Kokki Kumar start as lowly workers before climbing their way up. They couldn’t be more in contrast though. Kokki Kumar only ever cared about his own basal impulses, but NGK has the whole suffering of the world weighing on him. Nobody understands why he cares so much about society. As his mother helpfully indicates right at the beginning, “Ovvoruthanukku ovvoru paithiyam. Ivanukku naatu mela paithiyam.” The film charts, unsatisfactorily, his self-sacrifice for the greater good. It’s psychological at first, and then almost physical, eventually.
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