First things first. I am delighted that Pink got remade in Tamil; I am rapturous that someone with the star power of Ajith has participated in the project. This decision by the star ranks right up there alongside Rajinikanth doing films with Ranjith, for sheer courage, and good intentions. Often, films like Pink run the risk of preaching to the choir, but when a star of the stature of Ajith breaks away from expectations and does a film like this, it helps familiarise many sections to the message of such films. The hope, of course, is that it will stick. The participation of a star is a double-edged sword, however. It popularises the message, sure, but pandering to his presence often proves harmful for the potency of the message. Unfortunately, some of that has happened with Nerkonda Paarvai.
Among the key strengths of Pink is the air of suspense that pervades its universe (it’s impossible not to bring Pink into this conversation, given this film is a remake). This is aided by Amitabh Bachchan playing a lawyer with great fragility. The three women central to this story, at one point, even express doubt over whether he is the right man for their case. In Nerkonda Paarvai, these women are played by Shraddha Srinath, Andrea (reprising her part from the original), and Abhirami, but here, when they express uncertainty over the efficiency of Bharath Subramaniam (Ajith Kumar), you want to ask them to relax. H Vinoth tries to make Bharath vulnerable by adding depression and bipolar disorder to his character, but he makes the latter seem almost like a superpower—which, of course, has the opposite effect of making him vulnerable. A doctor even warns a group of bad guys that Bharath not taking his pills is more dangerous for them. The idea is great in a mass film, but not in a universe like this, where the focus needs to be strictly on the women. Bharath makes horizontal figures of dozens of vertical men, as a fountain gushes in the background (symbolism?). He then snarls at a powerful politician, “Bayamurutharavana bayamuruthardhu en pazhakkam.” And to think his clients, those three poor women, were worried about this guy?
For the remainder of this review (and there’s a lot more left, I assure you), please visit https://www.cinemaexpress.com/reviews/tamil/2019/aug/07/nerkonda-paarvai-movie-review-ajiths-integration-into-this-remake-is-to-mixed-results-13479.html
3 Comments Add yours
Of course 🙂 Film viewing is a very individual experience. What made me accept these tonal shifts is also the fact that a lot of thought seem to have gone into including these scenes. They didn’t look like lazy commercial compromises. Usually during a fight scene you hear the fans screaming their hearts out but this particular group (a group of men who were hurling abuses at the film’s female characters without bothering that they were also surrounded by women and children) i talked about was completely silent while the rest of the theatre was still cheering. It was a strange satisfaction that i got and that fight scene ended up being my most favorite part of the film. If i hadn’t experienced this, i am not sure whether i would have reacted the same way to that scene.
While the fight scene in Nerkonda paarvai is being looked at as a commercial compromise to accommodate Ajith’s starpower, I couldn’t help but admire the way it was brought in to the script. I understand it stands out a bit in terms of the tone the film tries to maintain but it still made sense.
The scene unleashes all the fury of the common man against the abusers. The fact that all these bad men were getting bashed up with an iron rod makes a powerful impact. That symbolism was least expected. There was a group of men in the theatre I watched who were continuously passing filthy remarks and slut shaming the film’s female characters (probably one of the worst experiences I’ve had in a theatre). At the end of that fight scene, that entire group was dead silent. It was terrific. Their favorite hero was finally calling them out for who they are and also symbolically bashing their mindset left right and centre.
And to me, that’s commercial cinema at it’s most effective. And maybe sometimes the necessity of a scene has to overtake the correctness of cinematic grammar.
Even Ajith’s flashback made sense. It adds to the depth of his character and makes his mission not just about the girls but also about himself. He wasn’t there for his wife when she needed him but he’s now trying to be there for the girls when they need him. Again, it stands out because of the cutesy portrayal but it i didn’t bother me much.
Thank you for the long comment.
I hear you, but somehow, both of those ideas just didn’t sit well inside this film for me. I suppose it has everything to do with your willingness to ease out on the ‘correctness of cinematic grammar’. Also, I am sure you see–unlike many others–that I didn’t have problems with this film that ruined the experience for me. I just didn’t care for some of these additions (as necessary as they may have been for the commercial success of this film).