It is difficult to classify the genre that Global Infotainment's Nadodigal (Nomads), directed by Samudhrakkani, belongs to. On the one hand the Tamil flick seems like a slick action thriller while on the other, a hotchpotch of suspense and mystery. But the cast, essentially the same batch from Subramaniapuram raises a lot of expectations. As to whether they satisfy it is a different story.
This time, the terrain is the bustling township of Rajapalayam, Erode, Namakkal and others in the area; a group of families minds its own business: Karunakaran (Sasikumar) is a BA History graduate who's writing TNPSC examinations because his uncle insists on a government job. Or, he won't hand over his daughter (Ananya) in marriage. His friends Pandi (Bharani) and Chandran (Vijay) are thick as thieves with him; life is a fun-filled adventure as Karunakaran enjoys romantic trysts with his girl; Chandran seeks out his own beloved Pavithra (Neha), while Pandi, easily the funniest of them all, searches in vain for a love which eludes him.
Matters cruise along slowly when Saravanan, the son of a rather unscrupulous Minister Sangi Pathak, arrives from the city and promptly tries to drown himself. Investigations reveal that he's desperately in love with his mother's rivals' daughter. Naturally, the three staunch friends pitch in to help.
From time immemorial, Tamil cinema has always focussed on the hero's gigantic powers of persuasion and brawn. But this one is, happily, a pleasant deviation. For once this movie actually depicts the friend's story, like ordinary humans, to grab the girl and get her away for a secret marriage. In the painful process, each loses something dear; Pandi his hearing (picturised rather spectacularly and in a nerve-wrenching fashion), while Chandran his leg; Karunakaran loses something far greater.
But the biggest blow for them is something that shakes the very foundation of their beliefs.
Kudos to Samudhrakkani, who, despite choosing a run-of-the-mill story, has tried to show it in a way that's rooted in realism (barring a couple of unnecessary item numbers). Sure, his setting and situations remind you very strongly of Kadhal, and it's obvious that he's been influenced very heavily by Subramaniapuram. Sometimes you wonder if it was Sasikumar behind the lens. Their friendly banter and dialogue delivery from their previous movie has been carried over here, and in spite of a few repetitive moments, works.
Post the intermission, though, the need to show the changed lives of our protagonists proves a tad tedious. There's not enough depth to justify the heavy foundation laid in the first half.
For a while, as the story meanders from Point A to B to C, you wonder where it's heading but thankfully, before it collapses completely, a logical screenplay and a mildly satisfying climax tie up loose ends. Sundar C Babu's songs are melodious but somehow, seen with the movie, don't prove that effective. Kathir's cinematography is excellent while A L Ramesh's editing is perfect.
Sasikumar's bearded get-up is jarring a few times especially as he reminds you of T Rajendar, and his dialogues are quite cheesy. Still, the man has a magnetic personality and delivers. But it's Bharani who takes the cake as the perfect friend. He has you in splits throughout with his comic expressions and dialogues. Ananya looks a lot like Swathi and does quite well. In fact, all of the supporting cast have delivered good performances.
Subramaniapuram was an instant classic for the way it depicted heavy-duty emotions, betrayal and love. Nadodigal is no way near it in intensity but its realistic feel, mostly logical screenplay and cast go a long way in making it a worthwhile watch.