Jul 19 2012
Reincarnation is a popular theme in cinema(Arundhathi and Enakkul Oruvan are 2 examples that immediately come to mind) with the predominant storyline in such movies being the reincarnated person avenging the injustice perpetrated on them in their previous life. Director S.S.Rajamouli retains the basic storyline but makes the reincarnated being a fly in Naan Ee. Wonderfully imaginative, it is a thorough entertainer that employs impressive graphics in the aid of a story that combines revenge, romance, comedy and sentiments in exhilarating fashion.
Bindu(Samantha) is a micro-artist in addition to running a charity organization. Nani(Nani), her neighbor, has been wooing her for 2 years and though Bindu likes him, she hasn’t openly expressed her love for him. When Sudeep(Sudeep), the rich owner of a construction business sees Bindu, he is determined to get her and realizing that Nani stands in the way, he kills him. But Nani is reborn as a fly and has only revenge on his mind.
Its easy to root for the fly. The romance, though it is a bit corny, establishes Nani as a likeable guy who is really in love with Samantha. So his death, especially without hearing from Samantha those three words he had been yearning to hear, is quite tragic. Sudeep, on the other hand, is crafty and heartless as he kills Nani and gets close to Samantha. So Nani’s dual motives after becoming the fly – save Samantha from Sudeep and take revenge on him – are strong.
But what really gets us on the fly’s side is the sight of how mismatched the fight is. It is a real David vs Goliath match-up as the fly is puny in the fight against Sudeep, who obviously will seem like a monster to it. As the clear underdog, it gets us on its side easily to laugh and cheer as it takes him on. There are several exhilarating sequences – the intermission point, the scene where Samantha inadvertently saves its life, the one where the fly is reflected in some flying glass pieces and the fiery image Sudeep sees are some – that work so well only because we are wholeheartedly rooting for it.
The film’s tone reflects how Sudeep feels about the fly. It is initially simply an irritant as it harasses him and there are a lot of laughs(an assistant’s innocent question after seeing him trapped in the bathroom or the way he finally goes to bed) as he deals with it. The tone gets less light-hearted as Sudeep understands the seriousness of the situation and seeks a tantrik’s help. It is here that the film stumbles a bit as a detour into loud comedy(at a company meeting) feels out of place. But it gets back on track and gets serious and a bit dark after he realizes the truth. The changes in tone feel natural and the film manages to delivers both laughs and thrills equally well.
A fly doesn’t sound like a strong opponent on paper but Rajamouli’s imagination and screenplay make it one. The insect’s size and agility are put to good use as he torments Sudeep and Rajamouli’s imagination is evident in many sequences like its training methods and the way it uses props and deals with threats. Making Samantha a micro-artist is another nice touch as it enables her to help it in some clever ways.
The technical team behind the film provides excellent support to Rajamouli’s vision. The fly isn’t rendered very realistically but that ceases to be a problem since the film is more of a fantasy. Its movements are captured well as both its leisurely moments(like its first taste of the world, which has some inspirations from both Antz and Bee Movie) and its close calls(like the chase by the birds sent by the tantrik) are skilfully done.
Sudeep is fantastic as the man harassed by the tiny fly. His acting changes subtly and effortlessly with the film’s tone as he suffers in almost comical fashion initially but is able to transform into a serious, almost maniacal villain towards the end. Samantha is petite and pretty and serves as an able partner to the fly. Nani has a short role but makes his mark as a sincere loverboy. Veesum Velichathile… is a soft number that has some cute moments as Nani tries to impress Samantha and she tries to act nonchalantly. Eeda Eeda… is a high-energy number that works well as the background to the fly’s antics.
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