Fifteen minutes into Ajay Gnanamuthu’s Imaikka Nodigal, which features Nayanthara in the role of a CBI officer, a body is chopped into pieces and stuffed into a suitcase. In one of his most memorable onscreen avatars in his short acting filmography, Anurag Kashyap, as the film’s antagonist, is a delight to watch, making us grovel in our seats as he goes around on a killing spree. With this kind of setup to kick off proceedings, the first half hour of the film is really impressive. Just when you think nothing can go wrong, the story takes a needless romantic detour in what could conveniently be described as a commercial compromise.
In what could have been an otherwise riveting thriller – thankfully, it is for the most part it is the romance portion featuring Atharvaa and Raashi Khanna that makes Imaikka Nodigal one of those attempts that calls for better execution. The worst part is even after spending half an hour to introduce us to the characters of Atharvaa and Raashi, and make us see them fall for each other through the course of a song, the romance still falls flat on the screen. However, if one can oversee this minor grouse — like how Atharvaa’s character Arjun does make a valuable contribution to the plot towards the end — we are in for a terrific thAriller, courtesy Anurag Kashyap and Nayanthara in probably one of the best man versus woman encounters. Credit should also go to Ajay Gnanamuthu for his effective story and fairly engaging screenplay.
Nayanthara, in yet another attempt to pick interesting roles, goes the extra mile to play CBI officer Anjali Vikramadithiyan, and boy! She nails the character. She has given the hero treatment – from slow-motion shots and ‘message’ dialogues – but not at the cost of overall viewing experience, which is a relief. Nayanthara’s fascination for exploring the grey area continues with Imaikka Nodigal and if her recent choices are anything to go by, it is amazing to see a leading lady embrace it confidently.
Imaikka Nodigal is well-written and there is no denying it. Watch the ‘lion-hyena’ analogy become the pivot of the story as the film progresses.