A film that spells violent action, Sundar C's attempt to lend suspenseful twists to some of the characters evokes interest in Nagaram (U/A). Maruppakkam is the tagline — but it's a side you are familiar with — several stories have been pegged on the dark underbelly of the city. Hence the theme per se isn't new.
Self-centeredness that makes people change colours like a chameleon is shocking — auto driver Dhamu (George) for instance. Incidentally, experienced actors from the small screen have been utilised well in Nagaram. And is it serial director Sundar K.Vijayan in the role of a cold-blooded thug? Surprising!
The film opens with the climax and moves backward at a trying pace, for a while. But after the mid point, matters gain momentum — the last 30 minutes of Nagaram keep you riveted. Strands of narration hanging loose without their relevance being established clearly is a negating factor. You are flummoxed by the lacking links in the screenplay — happenings aren't cohered effectively.
Sundar's understated, gimmick-free performance works in his favour. Tragedy, levity, kindness or love — Sundar's eyes emote with ease. Despite sensing that Sakkarai Paandi (Bose Venkat), the cunning police inspector, is using him for his own selfish ends, Sundar goes along with him. It's an interesting premise because generally the hero realises the villainy of a friend very late. Finally, Sakkarai Paandi meets his nemesis, and the hero, his fate. However much a law breaker wishes to reform, the quagmire of crime is bound to drag him in, is what Sundar says.
Anuya, the heroine of Jiiva's Siva Manasula Sakthi and Harikumar's Madurai Sambavam, is paired with Sundar. She looks more beautiful, poised and expressive than she did in her earlier films. A performing role, which she does justice to! Bose Venkat carries off the wolf-in-sheep's-clothing part quite well, while after a hiatus G. Srinivasan (underworld kingpin Khader Bhai) surfaces to make an impact.
Nagaram is crowded. You constantly see people moving about all over the screen.
Usually Vadivelu is in his element in Sundar C's films. Here he plays the brazen braggart all over again. Certain scenes tickle a lot, and certain, a little. But it's time Sundar began to think of fresh concepts for Vadivelu-centric comedy in his films. The comedian's track in Winner and Thalainagaram are unforgettable. But Nagaram's fun isn't in that league. For example, the sequence that involves Vadivelu climbing up the roof to set the antenna right becomes too much of a good thing.
It's heartening to note that most of the time the songs take the film forward. Thankfully, the typical jig-oriented duet is restricted to one. These aspects help maintain the tempo of Nagaram. In spite of jerks in the narration, Nagaram is fairly engaging, particularly towards the end.
Nagaram Genre: Action Director: Sundar C. Cast: Sundar C., Anuya, Vadivelu, Bose Venkat Storyline: Once out of prison the hero tries to turn over a new leaf. But the world doesn't allow him to. Bottomline: It's more Sundar's potential as an actor that comes to the fore.