8.6/10 ‎(3,882 votes)
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Nerkonda Paarvai Movie Details

Directed by H. Vinoth
Produced by Boney Kapoor
Written by H. Vinoth Shoojit Sircar Ritesh Shah Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
Based on Pink by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
Starring Ajith Kumar Shraddha Srinath Abirami Venkatachalam Andrea Tariang
Music by Yuvan Shankar Raja
Cinematography Nirav Shah
Edited by Gokul Chandran
Production company
Zee Studios & Bayview Projects LLP
Distributed by S Pictures, Kandhasamy Arts
Release date
  • 8 August 2019
Running time
158 minutes
Country India
Language Tamil
Box office est.₹181.45 crores

 

Originally I had planned on posting this review last night, but having read over it a couple of times I realized that what I’d written was less of a review and more of a thousand-word description. Instead of giving you a half-assed piece of writing I figured it best to start again and get it right.

Nerkonda Paarvai (translated as ‘Direct Gaze’) is a remake of a 2016 Hindi film called ‘Pink’, and can be possibly seen as a way of emphasizing the fundamentals of the MeToo movement. Women’s rights and equality are cross cultural issues that affect people all across the globe. This film seeks to use a dramatic construct to hammer home a serious message.

When three young women are accused of committing a crime, they find themselves in a scary position where they are forced to trust in the assistance of a retired lawyer whose temperament is dependent on medication.

These women, Meera (Shraddha Srinath), Famitha (Abhirami Venkatachalam) and Andrea (Andrea Tariang), were invited back to a hotel by a group of guys, the result of which concluded with one of the guys, Adhik (Arjun Chidambaram), going to hospital having suffered a nasty head wound. In response to what happened that night, Adhik and his friends begin to harass the women, making life as difficult for them as they can. As the story develops into a case of he said, she said, the film turns into a courtroom drama; an opportunity for the women’s lawyer, Bharath Subramaniam (Ajith Kumar), to make his case while also promoting his feminist ideology.

I found this movie slightly frustrating in the sense that I thought it began excellently but was let down by some peculiar choices.

For the first hour, I loved pretty much everything about this film. The directing, the score and the performances were all incredible. Shraddha Srinath in particular I thought was fantastic in the lead role. I was completely hooked by the drama; as well as a suspenseful side plot involving a creepy neighbor.

Unfortunately, things began to sour somewhat shortly before the intermission. The film’s first poor choice was a misjudged fight sequence that – although awesome – had no place being there. It was almost as if Quentin Tarantino had directed ‘John Wick’. As a standalone scene, it was cool to watch, but in relation to the rest of the story, it was completely random, adding nothing to the main plot.

As the film moved into more of a courtroom drama I again questioned the choice of the director. There was what felt like a 10-15 minute flashback scene (that I don’t want to spoil) which was totally unnecessary. At best it could be described as character development for one of the major supporting characters, but had this run time padding not been there it would have made very little difference.

Unfortunately, I also have to be critical of the majority of the courtroom scenes. I have no idea what a real Indian courtroom looks like, or how their proceedings take place, but I cannot imagine (even in a film) that it would be anything like what happened here. As a former law student, what took place in that courtroom I have to say was shambolic. The way in which witnesses were questioned and the way in which the lawyers spoke to both the witnesses and the judge was ridiculous. There were some good moments, and one great one involving Shraddha Srinath, but on the whole, the second half of this movie was pretty weak in my opinion.

The message being hammered home about women’s rights and equality is important, and I can see on that basis some reviewers have been showering this film with praise. I just wish that the entire movie could have been as brilliant as the first hour.

To top things off, during the credits they show you what actually happened in the hotel. This probably frustrated me more than anything else because it completely defeats the purpose of having the film become a courtroom drama. I don’t need to be shown what happened. Part of the intrigue is not knowing for certain and forming your own opinion based on the evidence presented.

Despite the film’s negatives, I actually still thought that Nerkonda Paarvai was a good film. The core story was solid and the performance of Shraddha Srinath was one of the film’s main positives. It’s just the execution of the filmmakers that let me down. I think perhaps the reason I’ve been harsh with my criticisms is that this film had the potential to be something special, but it wasted that potential. Had they cut an hour off the bloated 157 minutes run time, and focused strictly on the issue at the heart of the story, I genuinely believe this could have been a film of the year contender

 

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