Movie Review – Neethanae En Ponvasantham

Posted: June 16, 2013 in Movie Reviews
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It was a few months back, the announcement of Maestro Ilayaraja as the music director of this movie made quite a stir. Then the trailer which got released was very impressive. The very first time I saw Samatha telling ‘naan gaali’ was when I was totally lost. I was a bit disheartened when the scene wasn’t given significant spacing. For the record after Simran during Manam virumbuthae unnai, minnal oru kodi period and Ash in Jeans I’ve never been this crazy about a heroine. Such a cutie pie she is. Then the director, Gautham Vasudev Menon. After this movie he became my third favorite Tamil film director. K. Balachander and Vasanth are the ones at the top of the list.


The film was breezy right from the titles. Gautham does what he’s good at. We see a neat and decent Jeeva first up getting all busy for college culturals and spots Samantha in the auditorium. Whether he felt the tingling in stomach or not I certainly felt it. I felt as if I’m seeing my girlfriend after a long time. Gautham is good at noticing certain unique expressions his heroines hold. Like how Simbu comments about Trisha’s walk in VTV. Jeeva here comments about Samantha’s smile, “Chinnatha oru sidela azaga…” That’s the way to make love stories. Fall in love with the characters.

The first stage of love starts in the flashback sequence. Ilayaraja is brilliant Vaanam Mela. The spacing of the song between their joys of love was stupendous. See the details that Gautham provides us. It’s known that in Gautham’s films love is fantasy, here too it is. At least the happy moments. And that’s how it is. When you are in the initial stage of love, getting to know each other, finding their interests matching with yours, it’s all dream world. Things slowly change only when you try to get on with the practicality of life. You can see the maturity in love in three stages. Ideally this movie would have been better with two intervals.

Samantha with her hair in front and those cute expressions looks every bit a school kid. A school kid whom every one of us would have loved to have fallen in love with. The entire schooling part was very well made. Girls talking about guys… guys talking about girls… How the words varies from cute to hot effortlessly. How Jeeva’s friend walks out when Jeeva talks to Samantha and Samantha’s friends stay with her when she talks with Jeeva. When Samantha says he’s cute, when she goes sits in his bench. Add to it the way she smiles innocently and jumps up and down while being happy. The break up after being head girl. Everything was pitch perfect. I couldn’t ask a director to showcase better puppy love. I didn’t want to use the word puppy love and degrade that part of the story but for the sake of better word I had to use it. At certain points of life certain things seem to be important. That’s how the first love stays. A phase to be cherished.

I’ve said that I hate Suriya. May be not. May be I’m envy him for impressing girls. For giving girls the wrong idea of how a guy should be. Similarly I’ve said that I hate Gautham. Now I find the statement absurd. He’s the guy who’s making films the way I’d have made. At least the love stories. His films are literal, even mine would have been. I’d have written a lot of dialogues for the characters. Silence in love is a killing. I wouldn’t have projected that on screen. Before Sunrise is my idea of love story. But for our culture where gender bias is given high priority here’s one director whom I could look up to know at least some part of girls point of view. When Jeeva says Ninaivellam Nithya in front of the whole crowd and makes Samantha blush. I was out of the world. It’s a situation which every guy would want to be part of. Call it filmy I don’t care. It was dreamy and that’s why I call love as fantasy.

They gradually proceed to the next stage of love, the college phase, it’s equally enchanting because the hormones haven’t settled yet. The placement of Sainthu Sainthu song was brilliant. The silence getting intruded by Yuvan’s voice gave me such an emphatic feeling. If the first break up was silly. This one is even sillier. Jeeva asks Samantha to do something in life instead of asking some time. It’s understandable. Before the movie I heard Gautham say that they break for simple reasons like his MBA. If I hadn’t known I’d have thought about it more retrospectively. The ploy of using a long shot and the camera rolling in and out was good to a certain extent but the leads not being matured artists we could see the restlessness on screen which makes us restless in turn.

Talking about the details we could see Jeeva crossing his legs while Samantha sits next to him in theatre and there is a scene in kitchen where he talks to his mother. The Kitchen looked as real as it could. Then his dad looks at him while Jeeva looks at Samantha going away during his reception. All were so brilliantly taken shots. Mostly out of focus but conveys the point. Also the way songs were handled was amazing. The mixing of two songs and mixing of scenes with songs. It felt like a true musical. I didn’t like the audio when it was released but songs were so well featured in movie.

The movie was similar to Vinnaithandi Varuvaya but the basic reason I could see people loving that and hating Neethanae En Ponvasantham is the BGM. I couldn’t hear any substantial BGM in Neethanae… except for the violin orchestra of the title song but in Vinnaithandi… the initial strum in guitar was enough to ignite the passion.

Most things went awry in second half. The marriage part was tad overdone. Was made cinematic and all but I loved the confusion in second half. The way these two fight. The park scene the day before the marriage etc. A few shots were made similar to his earlier movies, especially Vinnaithandi… The scene in staircase is the prime example of that. The quarrel between the two here was more real. They were just blabbering without knowing what they were saying. Gautham is not a good writer, he himself accepts it. It doesn’t make him great. But when someone writes well we’ve to give credit to him. I’d give credit to him especially for the pre interval quarrel scene. Even thought it was not acted well we get the essence through his writing.

I know in the end it looks like a fanboy review of Samantha. But seriously she being there as the apple of my eye how could I criticize the movie. Throughout the movie whenever Jeeva fights with her I hated him. I didn’t think even a single explanation Jeeva provided was apt. I didn’t have this feeling during Vinnaithandi Varuvaya. The balance was phenomenal there. But Neethanae En Ponvasantham seems to me a feminist movie. A feminist movie which I fell in love with.


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