Mu Maran's sophomore film has an intriguing premise, but it completely loses steam in the second half that you stop caring
A still from Kannai Nambathey
Story: A young man gets entangled in a murder after he offers her a ride home. Will he get out of the mess?
Review: Kannai Nambathey is a perfect example for the proverb 'Too many cooks spoil the broth'. Mu Maran's sophomore offering has the essential ingredients for a gripping thriller, and the director throws in one catch-22 situation after the other to keep you hooked. But, the film, which kicks off on an interesting note, soon begins to lose steam and eventually ends up becoming a tiring watch.
Arun (Udhayanidhi Stalin) is in desperate need of a place to stay as his girlfriend Divya (Aathmika)'s father (G Gnanasambandam, who is also Arun's landlord) comes to know about their love affair and kicks him out of the house. He soon moves into Somu (Prasanna)'s house and to celebrate the occasion, the duo along with Arun's friend Jagan (Sathish) go out for a drink. It's here that Arun spots a woman (Bhumika Chawla), struggling to drive her car. When she requests him to drop her home, Arun reluctantly agrees. Little does he know that the incident will change his life forever and that he would get embroiled in a murder case.
The plot of Kannai Nambathey is an interesting one on paper, and it would have worked on screen had the film had some tighter writing and screenplay. But here, the director throws one conundrum after the other until the last reel, that after a certain point of time, you stop bothering about all that happening on screen.
Arun and Somu are the only two characters who have something substantial to do in the film, but, they too, have some problematic personalities. They hatch one idea after another to get out of the mess they are in, but it looks like with every plan they make, they get further entangled in the maze. While Udhayanidhi looks perennially confused, Prasanna, who is supposed to appear 'menacing' ends up looking like a caricature of sorts. Aathmika's character is yawn-inducing and we absolutely do not care if Arun and Divya get back together at all or if she even exists. The rest of the characters waltz in and out, and do not strike a chord.
Incidentally, there are many interesting names as part of the star cast. The film also includes the comeback of the 2000s's hit pair Srikanth and Bhumika. Their roles are so flimsily written that you don't feel resentful, but end up laughing at the poorly-etched characters. Their 'evil' plan to mint money reminds us of Samantha's Yashoda.
Some of the scenes are downright silly as well. For instance, there are a couple of people in the film whose only job is to record the incidents happening in the life of Arun and Somu, so that they could ask for a ransom. There is also a scene that reminds you of a popular scene in Kamal Haasaan's Panchathanthiram, only this time, it neither makes you laugh nor worry.
Vasundhara Kashyap, who has a character with shades of grey, too, passes muster. Her conversations with her boyfriend are completely unrelatable. For instance, when he confesses to her that he has accidentally committed a murder, she shows no signs of shock or distress, as he has made a silly mistake. She casually offers him tips to dispose of the body.
Towards the end, the film becomes such a convoluted mess that you end up disbelieving what your eyes are witnessing on screen, just as the title 'Kannai Nambathey' and its protagonist Arun.
Verdict: Kannai Nambathey has so many layers and elements that it ends up becoming a complicated mess of a film, which eventually becomes a tiring watch