Naane Varuvean Review - Promises more than it delivers but a compact genre film that shouldn’t hurt you!
The first half of Naane Varuvean is a delight. And this has a lot to do with the fact that this is a film that we know little about. The promotions have been relatively low key and though we might have a rough idea about the core, nothing much has been revealed otherwise. That is why the disclaimer at the start about witchcraft and superstitions is a real spoiler.
Naane Varuvean runs for two hours with almost equal halves. The entire first half is basically setting up of the premise. Prabhu (Dhanush) is living happily and peacefully with his wife and kid. In the eyes of his colleague (Yogi Babu), he is living the perfect life and is blessed with everything that a man could ask for. Things go downhill when Prabhu’s daughter starts behaving strangely. Selvaraghavan keeps the horror angle simple and effective. There are no jump scares, but the eeriness gets to you. Some of this is definitely forced. Say for instance, the scene at the clinic of the psychiatrist (Prabhu). Why is the room so darkly lit? Prabhu is playing a doctor and not a psychic right? But yeah, it adds to the eeriness. The actors are very good, be it Dhanush, Indhuja or the girl playing their daughter. The emotions work and you believe them to be a family. The big reveal happens at the interval point, and it works. You have an idea as to what is coming but there is a nice little twist to it. I was assuming something else, but the little surprise really worked, and the first half does end with a bang.
You expect Naane Varuvean to sore higher with Kathir ‘s (again Dhanush) entry but that sadly doesn’t happen. The terrific ‘Veera Soora’ number keeps amping up the hype around Kathir but on screen the character doesn’t really create the impact it ought to have. A psycho who takes pleasure in hunting humans should have instilled more fear. What we have on screen is a star playing a stylized baddie. And this is a surprise given how convincingly Dhanush usually sells his characters. The crispness of the film which worked wonderfully well in the first half now starts hurting it. There is no real drama. Without the drama, you don’t care for these characters on screen. This wouldn’t have been an issue if the film at least kept you entertained with a thrilling cat and mouse game between Prabhu and Kathir. But that doesn’t happen. The proceedings are flat. Believe it or not, the final showdown hardly lasts five minutes. The entire second half feels like one rushed episode.
A compact revenge thriller, the compactness of which works for and against the film. While the length ensures that there is no boredom, this also robs the film of any depth and drama. And without this depth, the final punch feels weak. That said, this is a welcome genre film featuring a star hero and the first half is a pleasant surprise.