Naane Varuvean Movie Review: Dhanush's mastery, Selvaraghavan's skills make it an engaging watch
Naane Varuvean Movie Review: Dhanush, after 'Thiru', proves to be a consummate actor yet again. His evil laughter adds weight to Kathir, the perverse demon in the guise of a human.
Name: Naane Varuvean
Rating: 3 / 5
Right at the outset, there is a disclaimer that the makers of 'Naane Varuvean' neither promote superstitions nor endorse evil practices such as witchcraft and exorcism. Such a disclaimer sets the tone for a dark, paranormal, unabashedly eerie story about an abnormal individual and his dangerous psyche. The pre-release promos of the film had deftly hidden its core plot points from the audience.
Director Selvaraghavan, in telling a psychological action thriller (where action is not that important), falls back on some old-school tropes. But it is the scariness of the situations that stands out, more than the underlying melodrama.
Kathir and Prabhu are identical twins, who as children are as different as chalk and cheese. Kathir is inexplicably violent and fearsomely sadistic; his strange looks give his parents chills. Prabhu is at the receiving end of his ghostly behaviour. Twenty years later, Prabhu (Dhanush) is leading a happy life with his wife (played by Indhuja Ravichandran) and pampered school-going pre-teen daughter. On the other hand, Kathir's whereabouts are unknown. Soon enough, Prabhu's daughter starts behaving abnormally, hallucinating the existence of an "imaginary friend" who constantly warns her he will get her dad killed. Is Kathir (Dhanush, again), who might be back from the wilderness, going to wreak havoc in Prabhu's life? Or, is there more to it than meets the eye?
As a storyline, 'Naane Varuvean' is fascinating; the film does not overdo its complexities either. The reference to 'twin instinct' is not pretentious. Tumult and churning happen within the four walls. A whole lot of scenes in Prabhu's house are built on the time-tested horror movie template wherein we see a couple of stock moments unfold (but they are just a couple of them). A psychiatrist (veteran actor Prabhu) also has a role. Yogi Babu exists but doesn't overstay his welcome.
The film cuts to the chase in the second half, placing songs like 'Veera Soora' the right way. The tension has been built adroitly, although one can't say this is a masterful psychological thriller. What happens when someone's toxic love scares you rather than assures you? The theme has been explored without falling back on regular ideas.
A complaint is that the film spends too much screen time establishing and re-establishing the troubled daughter's nightmarish experiences and her dad's resultant trauma. Even after the defining flashback in the second half, the film goes to great lengths in dramatizing the father-daughter agony. Is it a lead to what might happen if ever a second part is made? We will not know now.
Dhanush, after 'Thiru', proves to be a consummate actor yet again. His evil laughter adds weight to Kathir, the perverse demon in the guise of a human. As a loving dad Prabhu, he makes us feel for his helplessness. The child artist who has played Prabhu's daughter is effective. Yuvan Shankar Raja's background score is moody in a good sense.