Review: Even though he is admired more for his offbeat films, Suseenthiran’s Naan Mahaan Alla and Pandiya Nadu have shown that he can give us tense action films. Nenjil Thunivirunthal is more in the vein of these films, but the result is underwhelming, more so because this is a director who, over his 10-film-old career, has come to be known for quality films.
The film’s plot involves elements that we have already seen in a few of Suseenthiran’s films. There’s the simple guy who has to find the hero in himself to protect those close to him, like in Pandiya Nadu. Here, it is Kumar (Sundeep), a youngster who is hoping to complete his MBA, who has to save his friend, Mahesh (Vikranth), with whom he runs a catering service, and his own sister, Anu (Sathiga), a doctor. Mahesh is the friend with a temper, almost a repeat of a similar character from Pandiya Nadu (Vikranth played this role in that film as well).
There is a gang of merciless criminals, just like what we got in Naan Mahaan Alla (Vinod Kishan, one of the bad guys in that film, is also a bag guy). The gang here is headed by the diabolical Durai Pandi (Harish Uthaman), a mercenary. We also get an entirely disposable romantic track, like in Pandiya Nadu and Paayum Puli. In this film, Kumar romances Janani (Mehreen Pirzada, who speaks her lines in anything but Tamil), charmed by her cheating techniques in the exam hall! She appears in couple of scenes and a song and is then forgotten until the epilogue.
Watching Nenjil Thunivirunthal unfold, you get the feeling that it could have been a better film if only had the director taken his time with the writing. What we get are plot points that seem interesting, but the writing never feels tight. The film opens with a pre-credits scene where we see Kumar losing his father due to a botched operated by doctors, and this hardly leads to anything significant in terms of both plot and character building. The film resembles something that must have been made out of a script that needed a couple of more drafts to feel polished.
Up until the first hour or so, the film moves along from one scene to the next with no rush, and even after this, Suseenthiran largely banks on a screenplay of convenience to keep us hooked. We get a murder attempt and then in the climactic portions, we are given a twist on who the actual target was during this attempt. But it doesn’t feel convincing because it doesn’t feel like a twist, but more like misdirection by a desperate filmmaker.