I was eagerly awaiting the release of "Neethaane En Ponvasantham" by Gautham Vasudev Menon (GVM) since the film was announced. The excitement grew tenfold when the music was released (although I would have to admit, initially I was skeptical about Ilaiyaraja (IR) providing the score). Then, on Thursday, the day before the release of the film, I read a statement by GVM online to NOT go into the film with higher expectations. Well, I would have to say that statement along with some negative comments (Thanks Twitter!) DID NOT for one second, deter me from the fact I was excited (to the point of ecstasy even) to watch the film.
The screenplay can be summarized as "moments of the relationship between Varun (Jiiva) and Nithya (Samantha) as they navigate through their lives". The moments have been captured beautifully, in a story that may test your patience a bit, but is completely worth the cathartic wait greatly supported by the lead performances and an excellent score by IR. Jiiva and Samantha are brilliant and live the lives of Varun and Nithya. Their moments together and their fights and the intricate nuances of their characteristics are a pleasure to watch as both actors prove why they are well liked and respected in the film industry. I have never seen Samantha before, in such a powerful role (I have only seen her in a supporting role in Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya (VTV) and playing second fiddle to a computer generated fly in Naan E) and she will break your heart as Nithya, be it with her understated beauty or her vulnerability. Santhanam stands out and gives a memorable performance as Prakash, Varun's friend, and is responsible for some awesome one-liners, like the Poda Poda Punnaakku song comment and aptly supports Jiiva and Samantha. There is also a brilliant spoof of VTV, an earlier GVM film, which brings the house down.
I could not help but notice the reference to "Alaipayuthe", the film Varun and Nithya go to watch and the scene set in the Tsunami-hit village which was akin to the song "Evano Oruvan" (even GVM mentioned this in an interview; not the scene, but how he could make love stories based on that one song).
One fault I did find with the film (SPOILER ALERT) was that Nithya completely breaking down and asking for forgiveness in the end thus taking the blame for the failure of the relationship whereas Varun was in the fault as well. And that was the only character flaw I could find. The story is simple, too simple even for many to comprehend. It tests your patience, yes, but it is such a film that requires that time. I would say, some moments would have been better played out of the camera and the climax may need some trimming, but I could not help it; I fell in love with the film, the same way Varun and Nithya fell for each other; I love their moments together, apart and all that in-between. I would recommend if you love/like "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset".