Ever since I saw Nandha in Mounam Pesiyadhe, I've felt that he
was a promising actor who just needed a few more good breaks. And though he has only acted in soft
movies like Kodambakkam since then, I've felt that he would be
able to carry action roles successfully when given the chance. Agaram proves me wrong. Nandha
is unable to rescue the otherwise-familiar movie about a common man taking on a powerful rowdy.
Thiru(Nandha) leads a happy life with his mother(Seetha), sister and grandmother. A misunderstanding
during election time leads to Thiru bashing up the brother of the city's all-powerful dada,
Varma(Biju Menon). An enraged Varma is ready to kill Thiru but the politician(Ilavarasu) who is planning
to win the election with Varma's help, asks him to wait until the elections are done, to have his revenge.
So Varma agrees to wait and lets Thiru know in no uncertain terms that his days are numbered. But when
the time comes, Thiru finally decides to fight back.
Like Kokki, Agaram initially has a protagonist who runs away
from trouble instead of going around looking for it. Nandha's backing down when the bad guys want to
sticks posters on the walls, is a nice move that makes him a down-to-earth - and hence, more believable -
hero. But it doesn't last long. Once he is pushed a little more, he turns into a regular hero with
a cinematic fight sequence where he single-handedly takes on a number of goons. This turnaround is
a little disappointing and gives us an idea about exactly where the movie is going.
In a movie like this, where a common man decides to go up against someone more powerful than him, the
hero does need to undergo some troubles to earn our sympathy and get us on his side. The director of
Agaram has understood this but doesn't know where to stop and overdoes it. As Biju Menon's men
keep torturing Nandha and his family, the troubles the family undergoes cross the line from earning our
sympathy to feeling gratuitous. Since its very clear that Nandha will clash with Varma at some point,
the troubles that Varma's goons put him through is essentially buildup and it feels needlessly stretched
and tests our patience.
There are a few attempts(like his visit to Biju Menon to ask for his forgiveness for beating up his
brother and his agreeing to run away) to once again make Nandha a believable hero. But since we know
Nandha can't be pushed too much and knows to fight, these attempts don't work as well as before. But the
director does succeed in creating a sense of dread as the deadline(in a very literal sense!) nears for
Biju Menon to kill Nandha.
The movie gets some much-needed energy as Nandha decides to go after Biju Menon. But Nandha is unable
to bring to the table, what is needed to successfully carry off the role of the angry
young man. His challenge to Biju Menon, which should have been a rousing scene that energizes the viewer,
is delivered weakly (even Seetha's inspiring speech to him before this
scene is more energetic and has more impact) and is far from being the strong shot of adrenaline that
the movie needs after the downbeat happenings so far. His plans show some thought rather than relying
on simply brawn but most of them are simply too convenient and hence, fail to excite us.
Nandha is able to fight convincingly but his body language and voice let him down. He lacks the screen
presence and charisma to carry the viewer along in scenes where he clashes with Biju Menon. Hardeep
Singh is barely on screen for enough time for the viewer to even get an opinion about her. And she
manages to participate in a vulgar romance in that time too! Biju Menon tries hard but isn't able to
convey the terror that would be instilled by a rowdy of his nature. Vivek, seen after a long time,
has a couple of funny routines while Ilavarasu has a few funny lines inspite of being a bad guy.