A perfect ten to Suseendran for the casting of Naan Mahaan Alla (U/A)! Every actor, big and small, is an admirable choice. NMA begins on an eerie note and ends on similar lines with nemesis having an edge. Plot and premise wise NMA isn't new — as always bad is very bad and good is very good … till needled. And that justifies the title.

You don't see a boisterous, image-building entry for the hero — another point in the film's favour.

Suseendran follows the trail of a group of college students — junkies who use their warped brain to kill at will. All they need are drugs and sex. Juxtaposing these cold-blooded anti-socials with the fun-loving Karthi and his friends is an engaging screenplay. The contrast is striking, and when matters culminate in an encounter between the two, you have gripping action.

Karthi as Jeeva is a happy-go-lucky guy, with loving parents and a typical Tamil film sis. The father-son bonding between Jayaprakash and Karthi is appealing. Jayaprakash is emerging as a splendid actor, and Karthi's mother, Lakshmi Ramakrishnan, a natural performer, makes her presence felt even in the few scenes she appears. Karthi's role has myriad shades, and the young hero does a commendable job of them. Except that his dialogue delivery can be a little slower — you miss some of the humorous lines because of the speedy diction.

Kajal Agarwal is sprightly and her bright eyes are assets. Yet you find the zing essential for the role, missing. Anyway, the director allows her to vamoose midway. The four cruel boys and their uncle suit the parts so well that they send a chill down your spine. And with such criminals at large, young lovers beware! Secluded haunts can be very unsafe, Suseendran seems to say.

Just four songs — and Yuvan mesmerises! Mostly shot as montages, the numbers keep the tempo intact. Plaudits to Rajeevan for the natural art spaces — the ravaged, scary seashore and the upper and lower middleclass homes are eye-catching.

The finale has Madhie's camera, Rajeevan's art and Anal Arasu's stunt choreography vying with one another to keep you glued; even the actors retire to the background in this sequence.

When a hero seeks to avenge a crime, you expect some astuteness in his moves. (Here the villains seem cleverer, especially in the climax.) But Jeeva's actions are so predictable that he is almost a sitting duck. Of course, in the end, heroism has to prevail.

Generally, well-made revenge sagas sell. No reason why NMA shouldn't.

Naan Mahaan Alla

Genre: Action

Director: Suseendran

Cast: Karthi, Kajal Agarwal, Jayaprakash

Storyline: A group of drug addicts strike at the roots of the hero's family and naturally he isn't going to take it lying down.

Bottomline: Pluses are many!