Once in a while, a Telugu film comes with a winning script which defies genre, packs a punch and loads of entertainment in each scene, pulls you deep inside a pacy narrative with great story-telling, energetic performances and hits the bulls' eye with a non-formulaic approach. Director Vikram K Kumar is known for making films where the dimension of time is sliced in clock-wise and anti-clock-wise directions often confusing the viewers without any defined storyline. But in NG, he surprises us with a well-written script and simpler narrative nuanced as the story unfolds; he puts an unthinkable starcast and concocts an indigenous but rare story that can only happen in crime-fiction novels. Yet, the output is engaging, outrageous, funny and thoroughly entertaining, joined by cinematic twists and a social cause at the end. The story has an audacious premise to start with - a gang of five different-aged females come together to polish off a deadly killer who killed one each of their respective members. Enter Naani, the gang-leader who comes with his own agenda who offers to help the gang reach their targeted villain. What conspires later is a premium range of thrills audiences haven't been treated before in a long-time with lots of fun and fluent narration. The last time I experienced new thrills of this variety was when I watched Gunnam Gangaraju's "Aithe" which was a path-breaking film defying all genres and yet wholesomely entertaining. NG is still a few notches below Yeleti's "Aithe" but nevertheless good to watch once.
Naani pulls off another sensational performance sublimating his screen-presence to accommodate senior talents like Lakshmi and Sharanya and also sharing his screen space with a villain Karthikeya who is at his swashbuckling best. There are moments when Karthikeya steals the show over Naani, Lakshmi dominates Naani with her inimitable style of acting. In over 157 minutes, director weaves a predictable story with intensity and adrenalin-pumping action - romantic track is subtle and neat. He takes time to build the tempo in the first half but makes up for lost time with a brilliant climax. Technically, the film should have been a clean "U" certificate except for the gaffe in the first half and second half about male dating - oops...it still draws good laughs thanks to Vennela Kishore. Naani deserves a pat for choosing a film where story is the real hero - no swagger, no female skin-show, no indulgent talk. His filmography reminds you of the Chiranjeevi's first fifty films where story defined everything - a lesson here for all the rising stars, superstars, power stars, omega stars and rebel stars whose self-centered dialogues and narcissistic camera angles have been depriving the audiences of great cinema. Naveen Nooli's editing seems like a masterclass in editing and provides good support to Anirudh's music score. There are only four songs in the film but the pacing of the songs and the BGM with music leveraged out of the four tunes make it a draw. After "Jersey", this looks like a film which will keep the cash registers ringing for Nani. Karthikeya, the hero who looks like an Adonis perhaps gets the most stylish villain role that Tollywood hasn't seen for a while. By insisting on better shot-selection and introduction and build-up of his character, Karthikeya steals thunder from Nani in the same way Vijay Deverekonda did in "Evade Subramanyam". Flaws of logic permeate the script on why police are kept in the dark, and how banks share CCTV footage so easily and so on. Despite all that and the predictability of the film, a Paisa-vasool film and a great family entertainer. Must watch.
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