A Bala film hitting the screen after two years and a controversial trailer is enough to drum up expectations for ‘Naachiyaar’. This time too the National Award winning director has touched a sensitive issue and handled it with his signature style. Whether the film matches up to its hype remains to be seen.
Naachiyaar (Jyothika) is a straightforward cop who is not only known for her violent interrogation but also for insubordination towards her higher officials. Her plan to go for a foreign tour with her family is disrupted by a sensitive case which involves a slum dwelling minor girl Arasi (Debutante Ivana) and her lover Kaathu (GVP) which leads the latter to be jailed. What is the crime Kaathu committed and how Naachiyaar deals with the case and whether justice is upheld forms the rest of the screenplay.
In her second innings after ’36 Vayadhinile’, it is ‘Naachiyaar’ that has given Jyothika the right space to perform and she has done a neat job as the angry cop whose only goal is to seek justice within the law or otherwise. Jo commendably plays her character bereft of any emotion when dealing with colleagues superiors and even her husband. But to the juvenile girl in trouble she shows momentary softness with subtle expressions that give her character more depth. GVP as Kaathu is a revelation as he gets under the skin of an unkempt young orphan on the brink of poverty. The climax belongs to GVP as he questions Jyothika’s stand and takes a sensitive decision for his love of the girl. Ivana the new girl who plays GVPs juvenile lover is lucky to have her first tryst on celluloid under the tutelage of Bala. The celebrated taskmaster has extracted a cute performance from the girl in both the romance as well as emotional scenes. Producer Rockline Venkatesh makes his debut as a colleague and friend of Jyothika and he shines in the scenes where he shows a soft corner for GVP and when he negotiates with a criminal to bring out the truth. The scene between Jyothika and him when she points at his daughter to make him understand the plight of the girl is the best in the film. No one from the rest of the cast make an impression which is a rarity in Bala films.
What works in ‘Naachiyaar’ is shedding light on how the cops might also work together to save a poor boy and girl from a tragedy. There are some good dialogues that impresses like Rockline Venkatesh telling someone that the present gods are partial and its best to create a new one. The running time at 100 minutes is a plus considering the story. Both the decisions of Jyothika and GVP in the climax is truly touching.
On the downside the screenplay lacks consistency and moves at a jerky pace. The love story between GVP and Ivana is unconvincing which prevents the audience from emotionally investing in their characters. The villain is suddenly thrown into the screenplay and due to that Jyothika’s punishment to him does not create an impact. One can expect the stunt scenes in Bala’s movies to be quite realistic and hardhitting but it is a let down here expecialy GVPs jail fight. There is a sense of Bala inflicted dejavu in the mandatory court scene with the familiar Brahmin magistrate. Bala in his usual style has taken potshots at various religious practices which though evoke a laugh here and there are mostly forced into the story. On the whole most of the proceedings do not connect to the audience as there is no depth in writing and characterisations, which make the scenes seem to exist just for the sake of it.
Ilayaraja’s music neither helps nor hampers ‘Naachiyaar’. Theni Easwar’s camera, Balachander’s art direction and Sathish Suriya’s editing are passable. Bala has been accused of too much intensity and his penchant for ultra violent climax in his previous body of work. This time as he tries to deviate within his boundaries ‘Naachiyaar’ comes out as a product that is neither here nor there.