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The "Naam" group... together with Prakashraj they present a healthy entertainer.

THIS IS again a story of four boys and a girl, but one that has been appealingly handled. After that mega disappointment from Shankar and his "Boys", Duet Movies' "Naam" comes as a breath of fresh air. Blatant vulgarity alone cannot spell success — what is important is sensitivity and social responsibility and producer Prakashraj seems to have understood it well. For at no point does "Naam" decry right values or deify the wrong doer.

The police force is hot on the trail of Irfan Khan (Prakashraj), the underworld don for whom murder, mayhem and narcotics are a part of life. He is unable to escape from the country and when he tries, his brother gets killed. So vendetta goads him into planning the kidnapping of the State Minister, Selvendran (Pyramid Natarajan) and in the process flee to a far-off country. But to upset the apple cart come four young men and a girl, who have different plans. A suspenseful knot made at this juncture kindles the curiosity of the viewer and commendably the interest is sustained till the end. Chandrasekar's story is strong indeed.

There is something very likeable about Prakashraj's performance, even as a villain (his powerful eyes could be a reason) despite the theatricality that creeps in now and then. As the exasperated seasoned criminal in the hands of amateurs, he presents a delectable fare.

The four frustrated young men, Ramesh, Sethu, Kutty and Sharath, are thick friends. The characters have been well etched and clearly defined.

Jayavarma, with a robust physique, piercing eyes and convincing expressions, is impressive. He plays Ramesh, the daredevil in the group, who is not too worried about rights and wrongs as long as funds keep coming his way. But there is an underlying sincerity about the role, in which Jayavarma shows promise. Sundar as Sethu, the jobless bespectacled young man from the village, is a prototype of the many you see often in everyday life but his simple appearance and natural reactions make you sit up and take notice.

Mukesh is Kutty from Kerala — another good choice. He reveals the right amount of innocence and lends a comic touch with his lingo — though crying out in sheer fear does not come too easily to him, or for that matter, to any of them.

Sharath, a serious young man, is earnest about his aspiration of joining the police force — a role aptly enacted by Vinod. Rashmi, the only girl in the group has a very homely face. In fact all the five characters look fresh and natural and except for Jayavarma there's nothing even slightly filmi about any of others.

Ilavarasu with his glib tongue is enjoyable and you feel sad when he is wiped out too early. Similar enjoyable cameos come from `Pyramid' Natarajan and `Mahanadhi' Shankar — their anthakshari on the hijacked plane is a rib-tickler. Kalabhavan Mani's gimmicks in the name of humour are major irritants.

Romance, duets and comedy tracks which would have only been trying distractions have been sensibly avoided by screenplay writer and director Saba Kailash. Shankar Dayal's dialogue is natural. Kalyani Malik's re-recording is in with the mood of the subject and the only song in the film, which Maragathamani (Keeravani) has sung has been splendidly shot by M. V. Paneerselvam. Vijay's ably composed action sequences are another enhancing feature of "Naam".

Prakashraj and Saba Kailash can be proud of their offering that sends across a positive message to the youth.


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