First things first. Let's not compare '3 Idiots' with 'Nanban'. Though the latter is a faithful remake of the Aamir Khan starrer, 'Nanban' has its own moments. It carries a nice theme presented in an interesting way. It drives home the point that one shouldn't run behind success and rather pursue his/her own interests. If one develops right skill anything is possible.
With director Shankar and Vijay coming together for the first time one would expect a cracker on screen for both are known for mass masala movies. But the film is a straight contrast.
At the same time, 'Nanban' lives up to the hype that surrounded it. The flaws in present day education and the peer pressure have left many youngsters depressed today. The need of the hour is to bring a change in the entire system. Shankar seems to have taken this in his stride to delivers it with aplomb.
It is no regular film from Shankar. 'Nanban' doesn't launch a crusade against anyone, neither it has grand sets nor punch lines. Rather a soft and breezy entertainer with a purpose. For Vijay too, it is a different film. After playing a brawny man in his recent flicks, he opts to do a brainy student.
There is subtle heroism all through with feel-good moments. Remakes are a risky proposition. But when a success formula is rightly recreated without much tampering, it obviously ends up as an engaging entertainer.
The movie begins with Venkataramakrishnan (Srikanth) and Sevarkodi Senthil (Jiiva) going in search of their good friend Panchavan Parivendan aka Pari (Vijay).
They are joined by Srivatsan (Sathyan) in their journey. Cut to flashback, Venkat and Senthil meet Pari in the college. They become close buddies and Pari's charisma and practical ways win him the admiration of all.
Pari is against the educational system and insists his classmates not to run behind grades rather derive pleasure by understanding and assimilating things. His ideas incur the wrath of his principal Virumandi Sandhanam aka Virus (Sathyaraj). He wants students to become a book worm to excel in academics.
Venkat wants to pursue his ambition of wildlife photography but his parents compel him to study engineering. Senthil hails from a poor family and is compelled to study professional course only to bail out his family from all troubles.
Pari brings a sea change in their attitudes towards life. There is Riya (Ileana D' Cruz), daughter of Virus. She pursues medicine. Pari's admirable ways results in romance between them. Eventually, Pari ends up winning all hearts with his acts. However, after passing out examinations in flying colours, Pari suddenly disappears.
Cut to present, the friends take Riya with them and go in search of Pari. They have some surprises lined up. Did they achieve their mission and whether the friends reunite or not forms the crux.
Three cheers to Vijay. There are no punch lines or flashy introduction scenes or kuthu numbers. A sophisticated Vijay is what one sees here. He is cool, breezy and brainy. He is trim, fit and fine as engineering student. He brings out right emotions and stands a pillar to the script.
There is Jiiva and Srikanth. They get equal screen presence and does the job entrusted to them well. Both add strength to Vijay and the trio rocks. Sathyaraj as Virus imitates Boman Irani (who played in the original) at many places, while Sathyan as the comical engineering student tickles the funny bone. Ileana, the skinny actress, shines in song sequences thanks to her oomph factor.
As like any Shankar's film there are some surprising cameos in Nanban too. The likes of S J Suryah and Anuya chip in with interesting performance.
Also, quite like any other Shankar film, Nanban is technically-brilliant. Manoj Paramahamsa excels with his cinematography skills. The bright colours in which the campus life is captured deserves a special mention.
Resul Pookutty's audio recording is clear and clean. Kudos to Editor Anthony, whose razor-sharp editing skills have made the movie crisp. Harris Jayaraj's music is good especially the numbers 'En Frienda pola...' and 'Asku Laska...' But the same cannot be said of the other numbers.
'Nanban' is a clear entertainer. For those who had seen the original, there may be nothing new. But for the Tamil audience, it is a whiff of fresh air from the mindless masala movies. A welcome change indeed for movie-buffs in here...