Naane Varuvean Movie Review: Selvaraghavan’s latest directorial, starring his younger brother Dhanush in the lead, is a ‘smaller’ film in comparison. Naane Varuvean comes with surprisingly muted promotions powered by an intriguing teaser and the promise of Dhanush – one of Indian cinema’s finest actors – in dual roles. Naane Varuvean has an interesting premise to speak of and it is experimental in its dual narrative nature, and it has an engaging first half, while Dhanish is in supreme form. The movie, however, couldn’t sustain its strengths thanks to a weak second half and ultimately ain’t the Selvaraghavan-Dhanush collab I have been waiting for since 2011’s Mayakkam Enna. Naane Varuvean Song Rendu Raaja: Dhanush and Yuvan Shankar Raja’s Trippy Number Will Have You Vibing (Watch Lyric Video).
Prabhu and Kathir are identical twins with disparate natures. Prabhu is a disciplined boy, but his sibling showcases psychopathic tendencies. Those tendiences get sharper further when he gets kidnapped by a crazy hunter (Selvaraghavan) to be his ‘prey’. Instead, Kathir turns the game around and he becomes the hunter, a trait that he continues towards his family, forcing them to abandon him.
Years later, we see Prabhu (Dhanush) now a happily married man, with his wife Bhuvana (Indhuja Ravichandran) and pre-teen daughter Sathya. Trouble begins for him when his daughter begins to talk to someone unseen in the nights in her room. She begins to feel more disturbed in the days ahead, leaving Prabhu worried about her sanity. What’s going on with the little girl and how it is connected to Prabhu’s past, particularly with Kathir, is what the rest of Naane Varuvean.
Watch the Teaser:
Naane Varuvean is a film of two distinct halves. The first half is like a horror movie with supernatural ongoings within a flat. The second half is about a son who discovers his father, a jovial family man, is not what he projects himself, before turning into revenge thriller.
I like the first half, despite its trademark horror trappings and some hokeyness. The buildup of suspense around Sathya’s invisible friend and Dhanush’s contained performance work in building a fear factor. I also loved Prabhu’s portions with his daughter – there is quite the maturity in how he treats her like someone at his own level, giving enough respect and understanding to her problems (though I wish he would have extended that courtesy to his wife when she first reports of her unnatural experience). It was also a nice tough to have Satya not follow the annoying-child trope and show a likeable sense of maturity in how she understands her own problems. The father-daughter scenes, without the horror touch, deserve a separate movie of its own.
The first half of Naane Varuvean builds up enough steam to lead to a very thrilling interval sequence that amps up the horror and teases the intro of the other Dhanush. It was a nice touch of mass appeal there, and I was particularly pumped up to see what Kathir was upto all this time.
The second half doesn’t disappoint at least in my expectations about showing more of Kathir. Dhanush is absolutely kickass as the psychopathic sibling bringing quite the devilish swagger into his wild role. The BG theme given to whenever he goes into the ‘hunter’ mode is fabulous, full marks to Yuvan Shankar Raja for that.
And yet, the second half of Naane Varuvean brings down the film very much. What we get is a very simplistic psychological thriller that only sparkles intermittently and moreover, never bothers to get into the psyche of its antagonist, even though we have a scene where he talks about the pains he had to go through. Sorry, I didn’t get that. Vaathi/Sir Release Date: Dhanush’s Next to Hit the Big Screens on December 2 (View Poster).
While I did dig the ‘swag’, at one point, I also begin to ask myself why is there a need to hero-ify a killer so much, for there is no redeemable quality for Kathir once he breaks loose. There is a scene where Kathir breaks into a manic dance, which reminded me of something he did quite memorably in Kaadhal Kondein. The impact is, however, sorely missing here because that dance doesn’t feel earned here.
The disparity between both halves of the film also jars tonally by then, and when the twain meets, instead of a major rumble, the proceedings lead to a tame finale, despite setting up a Dhanush vs Dhanush match, that doesn’t feel anything new for a usual viewer. The only reason to watch becomes Dhanush himself, though his Kathir persona has completely overshadowed the mild Prabhu role by then. The actor shines, but the writer in him (yup) disappoints here.
Even the kid actors are too good, especially Hiya Davey who plays Sathya. However, the adult supporting cast is underwhelming. Though Elli Avram is decent as Kathir’s wife, she doesn’t exactly portray herself as a woman in peril during crucial scenes. Indhuja Ravichandran gets even more raw a deal; even though her daughter is in mortal peril, her character isn’t allowed to involve in the scheme of things.
It is funny to hear Prabhu Ganesan refer to Dhanush as ‘Prabhu’ and it is even funnier when his psychiatrist character also calls himself as a spiritual healer. Yogi Babu is a really funny guy, and every time he says something, I can’t help but suppress a grin. The thing is, he feels a very odd man out in the film, especially when the proceedings get more serious.
– An Intriguing First Half
– A Weak Second Half
– Adult Supporting Cast
Dhanush is awesome – when he is not! – and Naane Varuvean benefits hugely from his dual performances, especially as Kathir. But when compared to Kaadhal Kondein, Pudhupettai and Mayakkam Enna, Naane Varuvean definitely earns the last spot in the ranking of Selvaraghavan-Dhanush ventures.
(The above story first appeared on Sports Grind Entertainment on Sep 29, 2022 08:49 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website sportsgrindentertainment.com).