‘Nanjupuram’ (Tamil, Thriller)
Director – Charles
Cast – Raaghav, Monika, Thambi Ramaiya, Naren, Priya, Suri
Set in a remote snake-ridden village, ‘Nanjupuram’ is a film about myths and superstitions, and the caste related issues, that play havoc in the life of a couple in love.
While the villagers feared and revered snakes, Velu the city-educated son of a village bigwig is the fearless, rational one. While protecting his lady love Malar from a snake, he had grievously wounded it. The villagers were terrified, for myth had it that a wounded snake would return within 40 days to wreak revenge. Velu’s father builds a high-rise shack believing that snakes would not climb up, and forces Velu to stay there for those crucial days. But when his romance is in jeopardy, Velu has to decide between love and survival.
Appreciable is the twist in the climax, the director drawing a parallel between vendetta-driven snakes and hatred-obsessed humans. The plot takes inspiration from folklore, drawing on the tale of King Parikshit who cursed to death by snakebite, barricades himself in a room. One of the characters in the film makes a reference to this story, these episodes depicted in an interesting comic-book style.
Strong in content, the film could have done with more finesse.
The setting, a village in the midst of a hilly terrain is picturesque. The debutant director has managed to hold the audience’s attention by maintaining an element of fear and suspense almost throughout.
Though at times, the fear-factor is overdone by sudden camera movements and the over-use of graphics of menacingly hissing snakes. With his small screen appearances and characters in some films, Raaghav (this is his home production) essays his first lead role. He has composed the music and sung a couple of the songs too.
The songs are catchy and, more importantly, well integrated into the film. The actor is splendid in those moments where he is plagued by doubts, fears and hallucinations as the day of reckoning approaches.
Worth mentioning is Monika as Malar, the subtle nuances she lends to her character, are a delight to watch. The rest of the actors fit in suitably too. With a small budget, little-known actors and a debutant director at the helm, the film delivers much more than what one might expect.
And with a spate of recent releases mostly centered on corruption and gangsters, ‘Nanjupuram’, despite its flaws, is definitely a welcome change.