Mani Ratnam lost his sheen in recent times as most of his films turned flops. Nawab is his new attempt in God Father footprints and this time casted big names for multi-starrer gangster film. Will Nawab provide him much needed break in Tollywood?
Gangster and power centered Bhupathi Reddy (Prakash Raj) and wife Lakshmi (Jayasudha) are attacked by anonymous goons. Their biggest enemy Chinnappa (Thiagarajan) is prime suspect. Discharged from hospital, Bhupathi reveals a shocking fact that the attacker was none other than one of his sons, Varadha (Arvind Swamy), Thyagu (Arun Vijay) and Rudra (Simbu). He passes away in no time and actual game begins between the brothers regarding next nawab of this Mafia kingdom. Who is the real culprit? What is Police Officer Rasool’s (Vijay Sethupathi) connection to this family? What’s the motive behind war within the family?
Hollywood epic The Godfather trilogy is an inspiration for many Indian directors to plan gangster films and Mani Ratnam is one amongst them. Nawab has unique shades of The Godfather. However, drama and the emotions are true Indian. Mani’s passion to make this film is clearly visible in each and every frame in first half wherein story goes sidetrack in second half. Had he put in extra efforts on second half, Nawab would have become real nawab in winning more hearts. Like Mani Ratnam’s previous films, this one also got world class technicians. Santosh Sivan’s cinematography and AR Rahman’s background score are la-jawab. Sreekar Prasad’s editing was sharp; nonetheless he would have chopped few portions in second half. Dialogues from Kiran are funny at times and intense. Production values are spotless.
Like technicians, Mani Ratnam casted right artists for all the lead roles. Aravind Swami, Simbu and Arun Vijay are so good as brothers. While three brothers breathe life into their respective characters, the film surely belongs to the inconspicuous Vijay Sethupathi. He carries an air of mystery about himself. It’s very difficult to guess where his true loyalty lies until the end. Prakash Raj is remarkable as ageing don, wherein Jayasudha was usual. Thiagarajan was decent. Jyothika was traditional and Aditi Rao was a hot-chic. Aishwarya Rajesh was okay and Dayana Erappa was sizzling. Other artists played their roles.
Lack Of Entertainment
Mani Ratnam is a master in dealing action entertainers and is a unique story teller. Nawab too is his mark gangster film. This is a strong revenge drama that explores man’s quest for money, power and how it can overrule even close relationships. The dark shades of the lead characters shown in climax episode shows the class touch of Mani Ratnam. One line... every life in this universe is a ZERO depicts the real soul behind Nawab.
Movie begins on bang with Prakash Raj and Jayasudha attack. This incident gets his three sons together with each of them getting notable introduction sequences. Then, Vijay Sethupathi’s introduction brings laughs. Meeting of the three brothers where discussion points on who will takeover the throne is intense. Interval further raises curiosity with mysterious question of who killed Prakash Raj.
Later half builds complicated dynamics between the characters as real drama kicks in here. These brothers are at war with each of them and there’s a secret alliance in between. Few twists unfold towards climax and final episode is spot-on with revelation original shade in Vijay Sethupathi. Towards end titles, plotting to eliminate the gangsters’ family is shown through FIR with key incidents highlighted in bold letters. That's true Mani's style.
All in all, Nawab is a far better film compared to Mani Ratnam’s previous film. However, the film’s second half played spoilsport because of excess of drama and bloodshed while first half is thoroughly engaging. Multiplex audience may like Nawab and meagre chances at single screens. CJ goes with 2.5 stars.