March 30 2020
'Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren' review: Almost funny
04 February 2018

The jokes are too far apart and far too few.

Remember the criminal tribe from last year’s fantastic Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru? The secretive ‘Hawarias’ who consider stealing their birthright? Most of this week’s Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren is set among a similar tribe, in a tiny 200-people village that’s notorious enough to have its own police station.

If Theeran... made them out to be fearsome dacoits, the tribe in question is a lot more likeable and fun. This village, the fictional Yamasingapuram in Andhra Pradhesh, has its own sub-culture, with Yaman, the god of death, as the village deity. Dressed in black and gold, every man from the village sees looting as their dharma and they approach it with ritualistic sincerity.

But the film soon moves to Chennai (unfortunately), when Yaman (Vijay Sethupathi, underplaying even this campy role) sets his eyes on bigger bounties. It is here that we’re introduced to Harish (Gautham Karthik), playing a character that is referred to as a ‘loosu payyan’. He wears excessively colourful clothes and sunglasses, and his life’s biggest achievement is that he won a medal for being a good scout when he was 10. He falls in love with Soumiya (Niharika); when she’s kidnapped by Yaman and gang, it’s up to him to bring her back.

Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Director: P Arumugakumar
  • Cast: Vijay Sethupathi, Gautham Karthik, Gayathrie
  • Storyline: A man tries to bring back his lover after she’s kidnapped by a criminal tribe.

It’s when the film finally moves back to Yamasingapuram that it comes alive. The loud and exaggerated acting style that was annoying until then, suddenly becomes a lot more tolerable when it moves to an equally loud and fantastical setting. There’s even a really funny scene that involves a wedding, lines from old Telugu movies and a reference to Sethupathi’s old Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom.

But the jokes are too far apart and far too few. It takes the last 20 minutes to redeem a film that was, until then, pointless, loud and annoying. One wishes the fun had extended to the whole movie, but there’s a lot to like if you have the gift of infinite patience.



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