Direction: Anand Shankar
Cast: Vijay Devarakonda, Mehreen Pirzada, Yashika Aannand, Karunakaran, Nassar
Music: Sam C S
Cinematographer: Santhana Krishnan Ravichandran
Editor: Raymond Derrick Crasta
Genre: Drama, Political
What is it about: It’s a Tamil Political Thriller which revolves around young heir of a leading Politician who ends up being a Chief Minister during an emergency. How he goes about handling the power he’s been bestowed is what forms the crux of the story directed by Anand Shankar.
Why it’s disappointing: What could’ve been a gripping powerplay loses its steam with weakly structured screenplay. NOTA had great potential, and I’m not stating that it’s a bad watch. But most definitely not which was promised through trailers and promos. Director Anand Shankar dives into the subject straight away, but he keeps getting lost into compromises which brings down the intensity which the story demanded. Instead we see him depending on the lead character’s charm. The film has so many weak links that you seem to wonder how come a maker can pass off with such deliberate blunders in the name of cinematic liberty. The commercial aspect gets too cheesy with roping in all the current affairs and past political blunders by the government. The film gets handicapped with trolls and forgets about the notion with which it started. The concept of Rowdy CM was pretty fine, but we didn’t see any such hooliganism from the lead except churning out swear words in couple of scenes which was brutally muted by censor board in the name of decency.
The dialogues in the film were nothing new, we’ve seen them in the form trolls and MEME’s over the period. They were just refined for the cinema and presented in the form a film. The first half manages to sail through swiftly, but the second half drags the burden of finishing the film, and takes forever. Amongst all this there’s a flashback which pulls in unnecessary melodrama during the climax.
What to watch out for: In spite of a weak screenplay and poorly executed direction, the film manages to be a decent watch for handful of reasons. First being the current phenomenon Vijay Devarakonda. Just his presence on screen makes the crowd go crazy. His charm is endless and he carries off the character with great dignity. He played the role to its best. To be precise, NOTA becomes a little less tiring because of him. He most definitely proved that a film can bank on his shoulders, and he did a great job in making this one a decent watch. We can’t say NOTA is an impactful debut for him, but can assure he will make a mark here too.
Then follows the character Kayal played by Sanchana Natrajan. Her cinematic debut couldn’t have been better. An amazing kick start to her film career and she got a meaty role to essay in NOTA. She was a natural and did a commendable job.
The rest of the supporting cast was good and did their part diligently what was required of them. Sathyaraj, Nasser, MS Bhaskar all of them were good. I just felt Mehreen Pirzada was unnecessary, because she was just there nothing much.
Music was fine, but the background score makes it up. Sam CS did a fine job. Cinematography by Santhana Krishnan Ravichandran was good.
Verdict: Anand Shankar, had a great premise but couldn’t build over it. He kept staggering giving into a format which spoiled a potential political thriller. Not entirely a bad watch, you can most definitely give this a go, just for Vijay Devarakonda.