‘Naa Nuvve’ review: hinged on destiny
For all its aesthetic flourishes, ‘Naa Nuvve’ could have benefited from a better story
There was a phase in the 90s and early 2000s when mainstream Indian cinema had narratives that relied on destiny. Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol said a quick prayer at the sight of a falling star, and Madhuri Dixit believed there would be enough ‘signs’ when she met her chosen one. Closer home, we had a story of two people who’ve never met but have developed a bond through letters, and destiny comes in the form of a knitted sweater (remember Kadhal Kottai, dubbed as Prema Lekha in Telugu?). Looking back, it all feels silly. Even the 90s kids knew it was all unreal and cinematic, yet queued up to watch those films because they were entertaining, had some good performances, music and other aesthetic trappings.
In a strange way, Naa Nuvve felt like a throwback to that era. There are no falling stars or a sweater here, but that turn of events fuelled by destiny goes around in circles to build the tension purportedly to make viewers hope that it all ends well for the two protagonists.
The film is aesthetic and that’s the good part. Kacheguda railway station was never presented so well, bathed in the soft light of early mornings and aqua-tinged glows at night. The same goes for the presentation of every setting and character. When P C Sreeram is at the helm of cinematography, you get an arresting visual tapestry. Complementing that is Sharreth’s background score, though eventually it gets grating. Soon, we end up feeling that all this could have worked with a better, more contemporary storyline.
Giving her all for this project is Tamannaah Bhatia as RJ Meera, trying to bring in innocence and that flush of first love. She’s also dubbed herself, which is a welcome move. She chances upon the book titled Love Signs in which she finds a photograph of Varun (Kalyan Ram gets a suave, romantic hero makeover) and it turns out that each time she looks at his photograph, something good happens! She thinks he’s her lucky charm and falls in love even before she meets him. A premise like this seems out of place at a time when our cinema is moving towards more rooted, slice-of-life romances. The ‘hopelessly romantic’ characters of yore are also being jolted out of their slumbers.
Even if we give some leeway because not all young love is pragmatic and there’s still room for the silly romantic, the journey of the two characters gets tedious to watch. Meera believes in destiny while Varun is pragmatic and shuns superstitions but eventually caves in. All along, I kept hoping they would snap out of their dream-like bubble. It doesn’t happen.
There are some potentially interesting supporting characters, like Vennela Kishore who’s extremely superstitious, a mother who’s fondly addressed by her first name, a nervous Priyadarshi who’s left wayside because all his talk about destiny gets to Varun’s nerves and Praveen as the photographer friend. But all these characters don’t add up to main storyline that feels dated.
For all that talk of destiny and the question ‘what if?’, I ended up wondering ‘what if they had a better storyline? Wouldn’t it have been worth the effort?’
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Daily Report and is published from a The Hindu.)
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