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Movie Review: Naam (2003) Back to Movie
Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam
Fans Rating: 76%%76%% 76% (10 votes)
Movie Still Prakashraj's first production Dhaya indicated that he was willing to take some risks. Though he played a rowdy, which was the most popular role for our heroes during that time, his character was sufficiently different to stand out from the crowd. With Naam, he confirms that he is ready to back films that are not run-of-the-mill. The movie has a very different story and a clever screenplay that keeps us guessing.

Irfan Khan(Prakashraj), a dreaded terrorist, is all set to flee our country when the police hear of his plan and ambush him. He escapes but loses his brother in the resulting shootout. So he sets up an even more elaborate plan of hijacking a flight carrying an important minister('Pyramid' Natrajan), to get out of the country and needs the services of four youngsters to execute it. Four young men, who are disillusioned with their future and in desperate need of money, seem perfect for the job.

Among movies that follow similar storylines filled with familiar sequences and cliched situations, Naam stands out because it has the courage to be different. It uses a topical idea(disillusion and frustration of poor youth) and expands on it with a story that is quite unique. It steers away from romance or a separate comedy track and its story is strong enough for it to do so without losing our interest. At the same time, it avoids the label of an 'art movie' by not dwelling on the situation of the four young men

The movie boasts of a fantastic screenplay, atleast for the first half. It plays with our expectations very cleverly and does a great job of laying out red herrings (though eventually it turns out to be just one big one). The plot as it unravels comes as a very big surprise and by the end, the movie does a very good job of explaining and tying up loose ends. Having four unknown actors in the main roles also lends a sense of unpredictability as we are never sure how the movie will end.

The movie does the crucual mistake of letting the pace drop instead of ratcheting it up, in the second half. Because of the situation it finds itself in, the sequences tend to seem repetitive and we get the sense that the director wasn't sure about how to move the story along. There are also some ill-fated attempts at comedy with 'Pyramid' Natrajan and 'Mahanadhi' Shankar on the plane and 'Kalabhavan' Mani's character on the ground. But the movie recovers towards the end and finishes strongly.

Prakashraj doesn't overact and is convincing as a dreaded terrorist. The second half finds him confined most of the time and he does a good job of conveying his feelings through his eyes and smile. The four new faces are adequate with Jaiverma making an impression but Rashmi seems a little weak. 'Kalabhavan' Mani is irritating and transforms the police officer role into that of a comedian - and an unfunny one at that. Ilavarasu has a few funny one-liners to deliver in his own style.

Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam