‘Naandhi’, touted to be a realistic drama, hit the cinemas today (February 19). In this section, we are going to review the latest box-office release. We analyze its hits and misses in detail.
Surya Prakash (Allari Naresh) gets embroiled in the murder of a politician. A software engineer with doting parents, his life goes upside down when he gets framed in the high-profile murder just when he is about to get married. Harish Utthaman plays a Circle Inspector who investigates the murder and charges Surya Prakash with the heinous crime. How the victim wages a legal battle with the help of an upright lawyer Aadhya (Varalaxmi Sarathkumar) to avenge the wrong done to him is the crux of the second half.
After playing routine roles in films like ‘Bangaru Bullodu’, Allari Naresh plays the role of an undertrial prisoner with sincerity. Not only is he convincing in the moving portions but he also evokes sympathy. The next best performer has to be Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, whose acting in the courtroom scenes is solid. Devi Prasad as the male lead’s father and Priyadarshi are good. Harish Utthaman and Vinay Varma prove to be able in their respective roles. Praveen and a few others are okayish.
Sricharan Pakala’s music is one of the biggest highlights. The musician of ‘Kshanam’ fame gives the best for the montage songs, which are driven by the story’s strong emotion. The BGM is equally impressive. The cinematography is another plus. Producer Satish Vegesna shows taste as a producer in ensuring that a very good team is on board.
As was evident in the trailer of the film, ‘Naandhi’ is about a wronged undertrial prisoner who loses five years of his life as punishment for a crime he didn’t commit. The first half, almost entirely, is an affirmation of this particular line.
Director Vijay Kanakamedala introduces to the audience the underpinnings of Section 211 of the IPC, which deals with “False charge of offence made with the intent to injure.” As the film begins, we are told that more than two lakh prisoners in India’s thousands of jails are undertrial prisoners waiting endlessly for the trial.
As the film progresses, Naresh’s character evokes interest. The pre-interval portion packs a punch when Varalaxmi enters the scene as a potential saviour.
The second half gets formulaic. The fight between Good and Evil is introduced and ‘Naandhi’ takes a trodden path. Had these portions been believable, the film would have been way better and would have been in a different league.
There are some predictable tropes that the film toys with. Like how the villains think of forcing the good guys to submit to their power. It’s all jaded.
The climax is elevated by the excellent montage song. The courtroom scenes are saved by the performances.
‘Naandhi’ is a well-meaning film that avoids masala commercial elements. Even the romantic track is brief. There is no needless comedy. Watch it with average expectations.