Release Date : Dec 14,2012
Neethaane En Ponvasantham
Review by : Behindwoods Review Board
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Production: Elred Kumar, Reshma Ghatala, Venkat Somasundaram
Cast: Jiiva, Samantha
Direction: Gautham Menon
Music: Ilaiyaraja
Cinematography: M. S. Prabhu, Om Prakash
Singers: Bela Shinde, Ilaiyaraja, Karthik, Ramya NSK, Sunidhi Chauhan, Suraj Jagan, Yuvan Shankar Raja
Lyrics : Na. Muthukumar
Distribution: Cosmo Village Pictures

After an intense Nadunisi Naaygal, Gautham Vasudev Menon enters his home turf of Cupid’s zone in this much publicized, much expected Ilayaraja musical Neethaane En Ponvasantham with a fresh new pair Jiiva and Samantha. Santhanam is also an additional new element in this Gautham Menon’s romantic enterprise. 

It is interesting to watch a film that opens with a comedian but that’s the popularity Santhanam enjoys and the actor never disappoints the audience. When he starts the film with the ‘pidikkalai mamu, padikkara college’, the crowd goes into raptures.

Story wise, there is nothing new in NEP; it is about two people in love and the emotions they go through in different phases of their life. The characters of Jiiva and Samantha have been well etched out and the school and college segments are a treat to watch. For all those who are passing that phase or fresh out of that stage, it is a revelation of sorts and for those who have crossed that beautiful chapter in life, it is a pleasant nostalgia down memory lane. 

The current day urban romance is an amalgam of a high octane expectations, ego trips, misunderstandings, low tolerance levels and societal pressures. Gautham Menon has attempted to bring this out through his lead characters and has succeeded fairly well. However, if the presentation was a bit more succinct and far more engrossing, NEP would have worked better.

NEP does have its bright moments but sadly it is not homogenous. The first half sails smoothly with school and college romance but the pre-interval block of a lengthy shot is a dampner. Wonder why Gautham Menon had opted for such a shot when the emotions being conveyed in the scene are of very serious and intense in nature.

Songs of Ilayaraja propel the story forward but for a generation that is edgy and attention challenged, the numerous tracks prove to be a definite distraction.  Nani makes a fleeting, handsome appearance in ‘Kaatrai Konjam’ number. Pace is very languorous and uneven in NEP and beyond a point the rigmarole of Jiiva and Samantha breaking up and joining again and again becomes tiring.

There are bright points in NEP like the performances of Jiiva and Samantha. Jiiva looks every bit like Varun Krishnan and brings immense spontaneity and dignity to the role but it is a little difficult to accept him as school student. Samantha looks ravishing and shows improvement from her previous performances. The coy look and the sweet smile during the opening culturals scene and the school segments make her very adorable. However, she needs to hone her skills in the heavy duty emotional scenes.

The immediate scene post interval is the high point in the film and Gautham should definitely be appreciated for writing a scene in self-deprecating mode and Santhanam brings the roof down in those ten minutes. All those who leave the hall during interval, ensure you return to your seats in time. It is definitely the show stealer of NEP. Santhanam’s love interest Jenny is an interesting find and is quite natural!

Dialogues like “pey bungalow maadiri irukku, adhaan ponnunga inga irukkaang pola” and “andha kutti kutti box ellam tick pannittiyaa Varun” bring out the apt kind of feel.  Some of the verbal exchanges between the lead pair are so authentic that contemporary urban populace can relate much better.  Even though the suspense element in the climax is appreciable, the excessive verbosity and the lengthiness work against it.

To encapsulate, NEP is an endearing urban love story with its highs and lows which could have worked well had it been tauter, more cohesive and more engaging.

Verdict: NEP has its bright moments, but should have been more engaging.