After Amma, the most emotional word in Telugu is Naanna. Say it and the listener will get a million emotions swarming the mind. This Vikram and Anushka starrer is a wrenching movie right from the word go when a man is pushed out of a car.
He wakes up and we are introduced to the world of Krishna (Vikram) who keeps muttering “Vennela ekkada” with a body language that borders on infantile. We really don't know who Vennela is, whether she even exists. The flashback shifts the scene to idyllic Ooty where Krishna works in a chocolate factory. His world becomes complete with the arrival of a daughter, sadly his wife passes away during childbirth. How this man with limited intelligence struggles to bring up a daughter and then gets involved in an acrimonious custody battle forms the thin storyline. Modelled on the 2001 Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer-starrer I Am Sam, the director of Naanna goes for the tear ducts with a vengeance. If Sean Penn worked in a coffee shop bringing order to the sugar sachets, Vikram works in a chocolate factory separating the browns from the whites.
Initially when the new father bonds with the daughter it looks like we are getting into a heart-warming story, but at the intermission we get a slight twist.
The nerve-grating part is at the beginning where two jobless lawyers try to snag some clients, then at the other end there is a disjointed song picturised in slow-mo on Anushka. Though Anushka's role has a lot of meat, it is Vikram's show all the way; he doesn't lose the plot for a second and gets under the skin of a character. Stories about people with mental disabilities need extra-dextrous touch and sensitivity. It isn't enough that Vikram's characterisation is shown with empathy while his friends' behaviour fit the stereotype and is dealt with in a ham-handed fashion. The music is not hummable and is nothing to write home about.