After experimenting with 'Nadunisi Naaygal' a psychological thriller, Gautham Vasudev Menon is back to his forte – romance. There are high expectations as Gautham collaborates with Maestro Ilaiyaraja for the first time, and with fresh young cast of Jiiva & Samantha, the stage is set for perfect romantic musical. This new combo delivers the goods to certain extent and the film works for most parts.
What's it about?
'Neethaane En Ponvasantham' is a simple urban story between Varun Krishnan (Jiiva) and Nithya Vasudevan (Samantha) covering three stages of their life starting from school days to college and ending with work life. It is Gautham menon treatment that makes 'NEP' stands out from the usual love stories releasing every month. He has captured the lovers' special moments, misunderstandings, break-ups and ego clashes with great detail. The lead characters of Varun and Nithya reflect the modern day youth perfectly who live every moment and go as the tide goes and are more confused regarding future plans and responsibilities in the society till certain point in their life.
Gautham deserves applause for introducing the characters well in advance during the promos and setting the right tone. It makes the viewer easy as to what to expect from the film. He has developed the script in depth with neatly etched out characters. However, he slightly slipped during executing the same, particularly in the second half. The lengthy dialogues, repeated break-ups and somewhat already seen scenes make one feel bored especially towards the end. And the extended climax didn’t help to the cause. Gautham for once, trying to outplay his previous romanctic flicks, tries too hard to push the boundary by dealing with lover’s ego clashes all the way. However, it backfires after a point as the scenes failed to bring the required effect.
The casting for the lead characters is perfect and brings the much needed freshness to the film. It's a superb changeover for Jiiva as a city bred young man from the local guy he used to play in most of the films. He is apt in the roles of college student and responsibible man later but his initial school boy character doesn't suit him well. Samantha is a sheer delight to watch and fits all three phases near perfectly and scores more with her innocence in the school girl character. Santhanam on the other hand doesn’t have much to do, but he shines in his space with the introductory song and post-interval sequence taking a dig at Gautham Menon's previous film 'VTV', which brought the roof down. However, one feels that his portions are inserted just for the sake of it without adding any value to the script.
Ilaiyaraja is back to his best after a long time and music is the main stay of the film which moves the film forward. All songs are good, 'Ennoda Vaa Vaa' & ‘Saayndhu Saaynthu’ are the pick of the lot. The Maestro’s best tunes and melodies are used to good effect by the director. Raja once again proves with NEP that he is one of the best in the industry when it comes to re-recording. Cinematography by Omprakash and M.S.Prabhu is nice and their work makes NEP a pleasant watch to certain extent. Antony’s Editing is apt and so is the artwork by Rajeevan.
What to do?
'Neethaane En Ponvasantham' is not a bad film at all and has its moments, but one expects more from director of Gautham’s calibre. Overall, it’s a one-time watch!
in.com rating – 3/5
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