Bommai Nayagi: To the not-so-kind attention of abusers!
TRIGGER WARNING (TW): CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
The alarming rate of child sexual abuse cases in the country today needs films like Bommai Nayagi to help the victims and the affected families be brave and battle out all the wrong stigmas attached to it. Neelam productions and Yaazhi films must take a bow for funding this project for the same reason.
Now shifting focus to what worked and what could have been better about the film Bommai Nayagi:
Director Shan shows a promising sign in this debut work through his craft and script. He uses a knack for never letting go of even a small opportunity to deliver an impactful punch line. Perhaps his judgment as a filmmaker doesn't make the film an overwhelming or melodramatic affair.
Tamil cinema has seen many emotionally wrecked fathers played by exceptional actors. But Yogi Babu isn’t like any of his precedents. He brings a new shade throughout his performance and it is refreshing to see a version so unique in this not-so-unique character sketch. He wards off all the template reactions, body language, and gestures that the regular Tamil cinema dads hold. However, one wishes the script had better montages/sequences to showcase the bonding of the father with his daughter.
The child artist Srimathi convinces the viewers with her natural charm and innocence. This works in the favour of the sentiments the story attempts to trigger. Artists like Subratha, Harikrishnan, Pa Sakthi, and Lizzie Antony along with others don’t try to step away from their designated characters. They help in bringing the story closer to the viewer.
The decision to cast first-time actors in many of the minor roles comes with both advantages and disadvantages. For instance, the thug old lady is an absolute baller while other characters like the cop, villagers, and abusers are slightly a miss. Despite the shortcomings, their naivety distances the story from being cinematic and pushes toward realism.
The extended climax is an excellent annexure to the film. It saves the film from concluding with a highly predictable note. However, the screenplay could have been more tactical in making the actual climax not seem like an unplanned add-on. Some portions of the narrative may seem like a lag but the film rarely deviates from its anchor point.
The political take of the film is carefully kept at an optimal level and doesn’t cross the line to come across as preachy. Neelam productions, as per their proclaimed vision continue to bring the voice of the socially oppressed people in a bold manner. Kudos to that.
The support extended by the technical team behind the lens by Athisayaraj, the edit by Selva RK, and the music by Sundaramurthy KS come together effectively, and ensure it gels well with the core intention of the film. Special mention to the musical numbers and BGM that enhance the nativity and relevance of the films geographical context and setup.
Overall, Bommai Nayagi is an appreciable attempt at bringing an important matter to the forefront. It’s time to push back victim shaming and build the strength to bring the abusers down.
Rating - 3.25/5