Movie Review: Nawab

3/5
2 hour 23 | Drama, Mystery | 2018-09-28
CAST

Arvind Swamy, Vijay Sethupathi, Silambarasan, Arun Vijay, Jyothika, Jayasudha, Prakash Raj, Aditi Rao Hydari and Others

Director - Mani Ratnam
Producer - A. Subaskaran, Mani Ratnam
Banner - Lyca Productions
Music - AR Rahman

Legendary director Mani Ratnam's latest film Nawab is a gangster drama with an ensemble cast. Although Mani Ratnam's recent films disappointed, Nawab is an impressive action drama that brings back the memories of Mani's classics.

What is it about?

Gangster Bhupathi Reddy (Prakash Raj) gets hospitalized after a brutal attack. His sons Varada (Arvind Swamy), Thyagu (Arun) and Rudra (Simbu) attack opposite gangs and also kill the son in law of their opponent. But there is a twist in the tale. It is none other than Varada who planned that attack on his father. He also tries to eliminate his brothers to become the sole successor for his father's wealth. How other two brothers unite to avenge him is the remaining story.

Performances:

Arvind Swamy is pretty good as the bad man Varada. Actor Suresh's voice didn't suit his character though. Vijay Sethupathi plays a supporting role but steals the show with his witty remarks and intense performance. Simbu and Arun Vijay did their bit. Prakash Raj and Jayasudha's experience comes in handy. Jyothika is terrific as Varada's wife. Aditi Rao Hydari plays a brief but important role.

Technicalities:

Mani Ratnam has recovered from Cheliya's mishap and delivers a commanding film that has his stamp all over. He presented it in a new style with sharp cuts and songs are brilliantly woven into the film without taking up additional run time. Mani Ratnam made sure to keep the pace up in spite of a grim setting.

Rahman's soundtrack is just okay but his background score is superlative. Cinematography is topnotch with engrossing camera movements and lighting. Editing is very impressive. Production values are good, but the quality of dubbing is not up to the mark.

Thumbs Up:

Characterizations

Technical values

Strong second half

Thumbs Down:

Dubbing quality

Weak first half

Analysis:
         
First half of Nawab is nothing but an extension to its pre release promos. There are many important characters in the film and Mani Ratnam takes his time to introduce all of them with elaborate introductory scenes. However, many supporting characters (Ex: Arun Vijay's wife and Simbu's Girlfriend) are not established properly. First half has many generic scenes which neither elevates the drama nor takes the story forward.

Second half is the soul of Nawab. The film moves at breakneck pace with the war between brothers taking the center stage. Scenes of planned attacks on Simbu and Arun's families and their payback is thrilling to watch. Simbu and Arun chasing Arvind Swamy who is on the run is also done perfectly. We cannot take eyes off the screen for a moment as there is nonstop action in the second hour.

The way some characters show their dark sides and blur the lines between good and bad characters is a masterstroke from Mani. In spite of action Mani creates space for drama. There is a beautiful emotional moment between Arvind Swamy and Jyothika amid the chaos. Mani throws in many twists towards the end to give it a superb finish on a whole. Nawab is not for everybody as entertainment seekers will surely be disappointed with so much violence and serious drama.

Nawab isn't perfect but it is way better than most of Mani Ratnam's recent films barring OK Bangaram. Top class performances and superb technical values make it worth watching. It should do well on the commercial front if promoted well. Wonder why Mani Ratnam and his team didn't concentrate much on promoting Telugu dubbed version in spite of having a promising product on hands.

Verdict: Nice Saab!