When Bala tried to change his template last time by adapting a novel like Eriyum Thanal, it failed miserably. Whenever he wants a hit, he goes back to his template. His previous movie Tharaai Thappattai didn’t fetch the necessary response from the audience.
What’s a Bala Template?
He is a master creator of characters. Nobody can think of a person raised inside a graveyard or a boy who hates his mother or a man with a God complex delusion, but all these movies will have one common conflict – the age-old good vs evil. The evil kills a significant person in the life of the good. The good doles out brutal vigilante justice on the evil at the end. This template hasn’t changed in his movies except for Sethu (his first movie) and Paradesi.
What’s wrong with a Bala Template?
Any template fizzles out after a point of time. There are many examples of directors in Tamil cinema who got sucked into their template and eventually perished. Visu, Vikraman and short-lived Perararsu are some of them. The producers will love these directors when they are at their peak. When the template fizzles out, Tamil cinema will push them to obscurity. Bala is surviving with his template because of the unusual characters he creates and Naachiyar is not different from his template.
In Naachiyar, he presents you with a complicated Police officer character. She is flawed, vulnerable but bold, righteous and breaks the rules to help the people she wants to. It’s not a surprise that Jyothika owned up the role and she has given a splendid performance. You can’t see a single trademark Jyothika expression in the movie, and that shows the deftness in handling such a substantial role. In fact, I think it’s one of the better female characters written by Bala.
I somehow felt that Ivana (a newcomer) made her mark than GV Prakash in the movie. But to be honest, you wouldn’t have expected GV Prakash to give such rustic performance in the film. It says a lot about Bala as a director, and he extracts the best out of every actor.
Bala’s sharp dialogues shine throughout the movie. He doesn’t shy away from using religion or caste names in the midst, and although controversies are surrounding it, I don’t find anything wrong with it. I don’t know when we are going to look beyond these things.
The way Ilaiyaraaja handles background score should be a textbook for other music composers. The use of silence when the screenplay takes over shows why Raaja is the best and when Bala wants the audience to feel a particular emotion, he looks up to Ilaiyaraaja, and he delivers. It is so evident in the climax sequence, and probably, no other music composer composes for a movie and not think the film as an album of songs.
Cosmetically, you might think that it’s a different Bala movie, but it follows the Bala template to perfection. An imperfect protagonist, Good vs Evil storyline and brutal punishment. Naachiyar is another typical Bala movie that camouflages into a police investigative thriller. The problem with Naachiyar, none of these themes are complete. You don’t get to explore Naachiyar’s character (or any other character), the investigative thriller part is choppy and Bala practices subtlety in his brutality. This chaos doesn’t help the movie, but the short run-time might help you to overlook the issues.
Naachiyar stays in that average zone – it’s neither great nor bad. Bala needed a victory, but Naachiyar is not the one that’s going to fetch him. Naachiyar is not a bad movie to watch. It’s worth watching for Jyothika, Bala and Ilaiyaraaja. And in 100 minutes, it’s not going to bore you to death like lot other movies in the mill.
I go with 2.5/5 for Naachiyar and watch it if you have kept away from Bala movies because of brutality. But Bala needs another movie to revive his position.
Thank you for reading my Naachiyar Review. Give your feedback in the comments section.