10 Oct, 2014 2 hrs 09 mins U
Sarath Kumar, Arjun Lal, Ishitha, Manoj K Jayan, Haridas, MS Bhaskar, Devan
The film is quite formulaic, with an overlong romantic track that is filled mostly with voice-overs translating chat texts

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  • Critic's Review
  • Times of India
Synopsis: Five people get murdered in Malaysia and the cop who investigates the crime finds out that they have a common Facebook friend — Asha Black. Meanwhile, a young man from India comes to the country to meet Asha, after she befriends him on Facebook!

Movie Review: Nee Naan Nizhal opens with five murders, which, at first sight, seems hardly connected. The only common factors, at least initially, are that the victims are Indians and male. But, Anwar Ali (Sarath Kumar, who is just made to look stylish and little else), the investigator handling the case, realizes that there must be a connection and soon discovers that all five had a common friend on Facebook — Asha Black. Meanwhile, Rohith (Arjun Lal), a young musician in Coimbatore who is on the verge of cutting out an album with his friends, gets a friend request from Asha Black (Ishitha). Slowly, he gets addicted to chatting with Asha, who reveals that she is a 17-year-old girl from Malaysia. Rohith madly falls in love with her, and his infatuation reaches a situation where he chats with her even while driving his car (and almost running over a child). Encouraged by his friends, he decides to go to Malaysia to meet Asha in person. What awaits him there and how does this change his life?

There is scope for a dark thriller that poses searing questions about the intrusion of the internet in our day-to-day life, and the addiction of the younger generation to it in the premise of Nee Naan Nizhal. The film talks about how our teenagers might be the most vulnerable to cyber crimes and how easy it is for a criminal to use modern-day technology like Facebook or web chat to pick and choose his targets. Here, when Rohith gets the friend request from Asha Black, we are able to sense danger because we have been told in previous scenes who the person using that profile could be. However, the film nicely uses this revelation to throw a twist at us — we have been conditioned to accept that a scene that follows another implies that it is taking place after the former and John Robinson exploits this to throw us off balance. Yes, this is sort of a cheat, nevertheless, it is also inspired.

Otherwise, the film is quite formulaic, with an overlong romantic track that is filled mostly with voice-overs translating chat texts between Rohith and Asha. The two actors aren't endearing either and so, we don't care for them or their romance. The staging, too, is unremarkable — the camera just cuts from a shot of Rohith as he is typing to Asha typing in her room. The investigation into the murders is neither a procedural nor does it involve any brilliant deduction. Mostly, these scenes comprise of Sarath Kumar dressed in stylish attires and officiously instructing his team members of their next step while they respond to his orders in an equally formal manner.

And midway into the second half, the film transforms from a whodunit to a typical tale of revenge. Parental neglect, the seedy (or shadowy, to go better with the nizhal in the title) side of the internet and even paedophilia (the scenes involving child molestation are shown in animated form) are brought into the plot but they are handled in a perfunctory manner and lack depth (Strangely, the film is rated U despite the adult nature of its themes). The lusty, unremorseful and arrogant paedophile villain is such a stereotypical characterization, as is the climax, which is something we have seen in numerous films.
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