Natpe Thunai is singer Hiphop Aadhi’s second film as an actor. This sports comedy also stars debutante Anagha, directors Karu Pazhaniappan and Pandirajan, and Harish Uthaman in lead roles. There are also familiar actors from YouTube channels like ‘Temple Monkeys’ Sha Ra, ‘Eruma Saani' Vijay Kumar, RJ Vigneshkanth, ‘Put Chutney’ Raj Mohan, ‘Pazhaya Joke’ Rajkumar, and even Bijili Ramesh. If the film’s title did not give you enough hints of its target audience, the casting sure will.
Aadhi plays Prabhakaran, a young man from Pondicherry who wants to go to France. This ambition lasts for about ten minutes because soon, he shifts focus, pining after a woman he meets in Pondicherry.
The woman, he finds out, is Deepa (Anagha), who is a hockey player in Karaikal. Prabhakaran ends up following Deepa around, trying to impress her. While we hoped to see more of her character, given that she kicks the hero in her introductory sequence, Deepa does nothing more than dance in a few songs and blend with the background as the film progresses. Actors like Pandirajan (Prabhakaran’s uncle) and Kausalya (his mother) have very little to do.
Sports drama is not new to Tamil cinema. We’ve seen it all from kabbadi (Ghilli, Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu) to boxing (Irudhi Suttru) and cricket (Chennai 28, Kanaa, Jeeva,). So what does Natpe Thunai offer? If not for the interesting 15-minute hockey game in the climax, the film can pass for an average rom-com.
In addition to Prabhakaran’s comedy and romance, the film also has a parallel track that discusses politicians and their greed, money-minded industrialists, unethical coaches and how young dreams are crushed as a result. In a nutshell, the whole sports drama package. While these caricatures are not new to sports films, Natpe Thunai spins it around a new game (hockey) and a new landscape (Pondy).
Director Karu Pazhaniappan plays the greedy and smart politician who plans to lease out the training ground, which has an interesting history, to a polluting industry that has been banned by other states in the country. Is the ground saved and how does Prabhakaran, an aimless youth, come to the rescue forms the rest of the story.
While the first half is unoriginal and the second half seems a bit of a stretch, the interval block, also a game, might be the only reason for some to return to their seats.
The songs, choreographed in signature Aadhi style in Natpe Thunai, are bound to excite his fans.
While the film is highly predictable and filled with ‘woke’ dialogues, it also has the hero falling and rising again unexpectedly to loud cheer. There are very few dialogues between the actors and the entire narration is in the form of commentary, which is well executed. The game looks very real and manages to get our interest.
Natpe Thunai ends with a question relevant to the election season - will people vote for a good politician without accepting bribes? Well, would we?
Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.