'Ninnu Kori' Review: A memorable drama with impressive performances

Nani lives up to the 'Natural Star' tag throughout 'Ninnu Kori'.
'Ninnu Kori' Review: A memorable drama with impressive performances
'Ninnu Kori' Review: A memorable drama with impressive performances
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Every love story of a person, in a lifetime, need not bear similar marks. The combined effects of age, time, and involvement along with the character traits of the other person change the way we view relationships. These alterations in one’s personality bring about a sea of emotions to the fore. The central characters of Ninnu Kori carry these portraits of feelings surprisingly well.  

When Pallavi (Nivetha Thomas) is in love with the confidence-booster Uma (Nani), her world seems to revolve around him; this is the sort of teenage romance all of us have gone through. The regular waves of this companionship through the eyes of a movie camera are the rains, hand-holding, and a bit of heroic moments stemming from the male lead by "saving" the woman he cares about from the baddies. This variety of biryani is definitely not novel in Telugu cinema. However, a third person’s entry puts a spin on this dynamic, thereby giving it a neat finish.

The third person is Arun (Aadhi Pinisetty) to whom Pallavi is married. With Arun, Pallavi is like bean sprouts, a clean and healthy relationship with no ifs and buts, ups and downs; whereas, her memories with Uma are like bhel puri – many flavors (happiness, heartbreak, etc.) are present in it. Circumstantial villains put an end to the song-and-dance romance of Uma and Pallavi.

It’s easier said than done. Pallavi may have moved on in life, with Arun. Uma, on the other hand, drowns in sadness. As a measure of correction, Uma is asked to observe the marital bliss that Pallavi and Arun are blessed with so that he moves on in life, too. Though this part of the story looks like tangled earphones, I thoroughly enjoyed it  because these portions are sprinkled with laugh-inducing lines generously.

I’ve watched Bhagyaraj’s Tamil film Antha 7 Naatkal, almost a dozen times. Whenever I spot a married couple in a movie with a past lover in the frame, my mind drifts back to the Bhagyaraj classic. In spite of the 36-year-gap between these two films, I couldn’t help but draw straight lines to the underlying messages they both propagate. In the Tamil film, the married woman is upset because she’s separated from her lover. In this 2017 triangular story, the ex-boyfriend grows a beard and gulps down liquor. Here, Uma is the one who’s suffering.

A closer inspection of the two movies tells me that the ex-boyfriend characters are stitched from the same cloth as their thoughts regarding love and marriage, that spill out in the climax, can easily be paired together.

Obviously, the landscape of Ninnu Kori is different. The movie moves from the US to Vizag and back to the US. 

Nani, for his part, puts on the face of a disgruntled old flame casually and believably. In one of the final scenes, he cries uncontrollably. He does it with pinpoint precision. And that’s where his stature as an actor stands. If that particular shot were a little longer, it’d have been all the more wonderful.   

Nivetha, too, hits a home run with her performance as a young woman stuck between the reality of a good marriage (with Arun) and the opportunity of a missed future (with Uma). It’s hard to accept her adolescent image with conviction since her looks betray her actions. It’s called the Alia Bhatt syndrome – face of a baby with the decision making ability of an adult.

The supporting cast is oiled with Murali Sharma, Prudhvi, Vidyullekha Raman, and Tanikella Bharani. How can this combination go wrong? Gopi Sunder, with his score, comforts the viewers, and Karthik Ghattamaneni’s cinematography is breathtakingly visceral.

Ninnu Kori is a memorable drama, and that’s quite an achievement for the first-time filmmaker, Shiva Nirvana.

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