Nerkonda Paarvai movie review: Ajith, Shraddha Srinath shine in faithful, engaging remake of Pink
Nerkonda Paarvai is a faithful and engaging remake of Aniruddha Roy Chowdhary’s Amitabh Bachchan-Taapsee Pannu starrer Pink.
castAjith Kumar, Shraddha Srinath, Abhirami Venkatachalam, Andrea Tariang, Rangaraj Pandey, Adhik Ravichandran
Nerkonda Paarvai is an absorbing court room drama, a reflection on the patriarchal mindset of our male-dominated society. It’s a faithful and engaging remake of Aniruddha Roy Chowdhary’s Amitabh Bachchan-Taapsee Pannu starrer Pink. The Tamil remake features popular mass hero Ajith, so director H Vinoth has taken some liberties to make it suitable to the sensibilities of the actor’s huge fan base.
What works is perfect casting and spot-on dialogues especially in the court room scenes. A powerful, brave Tamil mainstream film which focuses on issues pertaining to young women who face many thorny and relevant issues. It is especially timely as ‘moral policing’ and molestation charges have been making headlines in southern states in recent months. Never before has a top star (Ajith as the lawyer) asked such a question in an open court to the female protagonist in mainstream Tamil cinema – “Are you a virgin?”
The story revolves around Meera Krishnan (Shraddha Srinath), Famita (Abhirami Venkatachalam) and Andrea (Andrea Tariang) — three young working women based in Chennai. The opening scene has the three attending a rock concert, next they are heading home in a call taxi and seem frightened and anxious. Cut to a scene where three boys Adhik (Arjun), Venky (Aswin) and Viswa (Meera) are in a tearing hurry and driving away, with one of them bleeding heavily due to a head injury. Adhik is the son of a top politician and he does not want any police complaint to be filed at the hospital.
The girls return to their home hoping that everything will just disappear as even they don't want to file any police case. But the boys led by Adhik, using his clout with the cops, file a false attempt to murder charge against Meera. Labelling them as ‘loose and immoral’, he claims they were trying to blackmail them. Meera is taken into police custody. Enter Bharath Subramaniam (Ajith Kumar) a smart lawyer with a proven track record of fighting cases for the oppressed. He defends the girls as the court takes up the case. Bharat is now in a depressed state after his wife (Vidya Balan) passed away and he is also bipolar. On the opposite side, Sathyamoorthy (Rangaraj Pandey), a cunning lawyer, takes up the boys' case. What happens next is told in a stunning manner in the court room drama that unfolds in the second half of the film.
The film is topical and relevant. It has the trappings of a thriller to keep the audience guessing about the outcome every minute, while simultaneously engaging them in a conversation about contemporary society. Nerkonda Paarvai is about the patriarchal mindset which looks at independent women as 'loose' or 'characterless' and lays bare the double standards of the society we live in. The message is loud and clear as Bharat says in the climax, we have to accept – ‘When a girl says no, she means no.’
Director Vinoth has made some commercial compromises to please the fans of Ajith, the superstar. So, there's a long drawn-out action set piece as Ajith bashes up a dozen guys and comes out unscathed. Another scene that was not there in the original is the romantic banter between Ajith and his on-screen wife Vidya Balan (in a cameo). These scenes only add to the length of the film (158 minutes) and don’t fit in with the narrative.
The background score of Yuvan Shankar Raja is in sync with the sombre mood of the film and fab camerawork of Nirav Shah. Hats off to Ajith Kumar who has moved away from his ‘action hero superstar image’ to play a lawyer who is depressed and he does it convincingly. The three girls are impressive, especially Shraddha Srinath who is riveting as the brave and bold Meera. Rangraj Pandey, the news anchor, is decent for a first timer as the cantankerous lawyer, while among the boys, Arjun looks menacing.
On the whole, Nerkonda Paarvai is Ajith’s best movie in recent times and deserves a watch for its daring theme and presentation.
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