Cast: Suriya, Sai Pallavi, Rakul Preet, Ponvannan, Ilavarasu, Uma Padmanaban & others
Cinematography: Sivakumar Vijayan ; Music: Yuvan Shanar Raja ; Editing: Praveen KL
Art Director: Vijay Murugan ; Stunts: Anal Arasu ; Written & Directed by: Selvaraghavan
Produced by: Dream Warrior Pictures ; Release Date: 31-05-2019 ; Run Time: 02:28:00
NGK is, undoubtedly, the weakest film of ace filmmaker Selvaraghavan, who teamed up with Suriya for the first time. The movie struggles to pander to the family image of Suriya, and it’s very evident in Selvaraghavan’s bland proceedings that never look promising on screen. While Selvaraghavan tries his best to make the storytelling interesting with his signature touches, the uninhibited vigor with which he made films such as Pudhupettai, goes completely missing.
The film revolves around how Nandha Gopalan Kumaran, who is into organic farming and a do-gooder in his locality, is forced to enter the messy world of politics and how he smartly rises up the political ladder with his scheming ideas. Although the film is earnest and is packed with occasionally watchable moments that carry the Selvaraghavan stamp, such as the market fight sequence, and the interestingly staged interval block, the other significant portions lack drama and conflict that usually keep a political movie afloat.
The appalling similarity between RJ Balaji’s LKG and NGK is another huge turn off in the film. Dialogues, situations, and even the staging of certain scenes are quite identical. Usually, Selvaraghavan’s films are known for strong women characters, but in NGK, for most of the film’s runtime, Sai Pallavi and Rakul Preet don’t do much to help accelerate the movie. While Sai Pallavi’s atrociously over-the-top performance is annoying, Rakul Preet’s needless romance angle with Suriya, including the badly-placed Anbae Peranbe song, tests your patience. It’s the relationship between Rakul and Suriya in the story, which lays bare the exact problem of this movie. It’s neither a Suriya nor a Selvaraghavan. The result is somewhere in between, and it makes NGK a problematic film, whose second half becomes unbearable to sit through.
Suriya’s stellar performance is the only saving grace in the film. He delivers a fine role and brings out the idiosyncrasies and freakishness associated with Nandha Gopalan Kumaran to the fore with a deftly performed titular character. It’s always a delight to enjoy Suriya’s screen presence in close-up shots and Selvaraghavan’s filmmaking provides more space for the same. Sivakumar Vijayan’s cinematography work and Selvaraghavan’s affinity for the ‘red’ tone make for a good combination. Although Yuvan delivered a middling soundtrack for the film, his background score work is adequate.
Selvaraghavan fails to make his audiences invest in the film. The eccentricity with which everyone performs in the film easily alienate NGK from a regular moviegoer. There’s no freshness in the screenplay and there are a lot of scenes that mirror Shankar’s yesteryear blockbuster Mudhalvan. The air of suspicion that Selvaraghavan tries to plant in the minds of audiences through the titular character of Suriya might sound exciting on paper, but it fails to hold the attention in reality.
Verdict: A halfhearted, bland political drama