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Times of India
Neena - a smart creative director working in a Kochi-based ad firm - is an irredeemable alcoholic and not a team player. Impressed by her work, Neena's boss Vinay tries to befriend her. She falls for him and her fearless advances bother Vinay's wife Nalini, who leaves it to her husband to handle the situation.
Our movies have mostly portrayed aggressive romantic characters as villains with ulterior motives. Their wild, kinky ways give us reasons to loathe them further. Stylish, daring, alcoholic and tomboyish, the title character of Lal Jose's Nee-na is a woman who easily fits the stereotypical 'woh' in a pati-patni scenario, but the movie is not another thrilling tale of forbidden liaisons. It bares the mangled soul of its wily leading lady sensibly, while portraying the now-common extra marital complexities.
Set against the backdrop of Kochi, it is the story of a man torn between two strong, yet different feminine influences in his life. A strong friendship is the base of ad man Vinay's relationship with his wife Nalini. After they move to Kochi from Mumbai, Vinay meets an impulsive and explosive
a creative director in his team.
He tries to befriend her so that she becomes a better team player, but she ends up falling in love with him. Though seemingly a bold woman, Vinay's disinterest shocks her and she tries to commit suicide. Though referred to a rehab, she has no family to accompany her and the onus falls on Vinay.
Lal Jose must be commended for making an interesting movie without any big names or gimmicks. The chemistry between the lead characters seems real and natural and Deepti Sati excels while playing Neena - be it her tough-as-nails side or the hopeless turmoil within her mind.
The story keeps you riveted till the end as the protagonists go through a gamut of emotions and are burdened by remorse. There isn't much that Ann Augustine has to do as a strong-willed yet simple Nalini. Yet she nails the character and makes it memorable. Vijay Babu steals the show with a believable portrayal of a confused man. His penultimate scene with Ann, when he confronts her, is impressive with a nuanced performance.
Some episodes, like the one in which Nalini allows her husband to pose as Neena's life partner at the rehab, acquire surrealistic undertones, but is forgivable. All the pieces of the film do not fall in place, but they do not hinder the film. Nee-na doesn't follow formulas and still wins attention; and that's its biggest strength.