‘Nedunalvaadai’ review: Of love and sacrifice

A strong sense of rootedness prevails over Selvakannan’s crowdfunded movie.

There’s so much to talk about Nedunalvaadai — a rare and unpretentious depiction of village life that stays grounded to achieve its purpose — whose core is about the separation — of a man and woman, and a grandfather and his grandson.

It begins with the introduction of Chellaiah (Poo Ramu, in a remarkable character), an aged farmer who feels the absence of his grandson Elango, settled now in Singapore. Selvakannan establishes their relationship in an over-long yet effective flashback. About half-hour into the film, we get a sense of their world. Elango, his mother and sister are left to survive on their own, after the untimely demise of his father. They’re forced to return to their village. In a heart-warming stretch, Chellaiah looks at his wailing daughter and quickly takes her family into his, even though hers was a inter-caste marriage.

Nedunalvaadai

  • Cast: Ramu, Elango, Anjali Nair and Mime Gopi
  • Director: Selvakannan
  • Storyline: Hailing from a poorer background, Elango falls for Amudha who is quite well-off. What happens when their social classes come in between their romance?

There’s no room for melodrama, but pure emotion. In that split-second, you can literally hear Chellaiah say, “It’s okay…You’re not my burden, but responsibility.” One could argue that Chellaiah anchors the family and…the film. But Nedunalvaadai isn’t just about Chellaiah. It’s more about Elango.

It’s about his coming to terms with his social identity. It’s about his love affair with Amudha (Anjali Nair is a revelation). It’s about their varying personalities. If Elango is soft-spoken and kind-hearted, Amudha is pleasantly feisty and doesn’t shy away from expressing her feelings, and using cuss words.

But, the issues begin to crop up in the second half, and the writing becomes a tad generic. How different is Nedunalvaadai from Mayandi Kudumbathar? It also dealt with issues of caste, land dispute and family, in a far more convincing way.

Nevertheless, a strong sense of rootedness prevails over Selvakannan’s crowdfunded movie. There are small details that make the milieu and characters relatable. For instance, when Amudha and Elango travel in a bus, their romance is played out over the song ‘Intha Poovukku Oru’ from Poovarasan. It’s one of the lesser known Ilaiyaraaja songs. If you’d travelled in town buses, the scene instantly puts a smile on your face. I wished Nedunalvaadai had more such moments…that made us smile.

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