The much-hyped Suriya-Selva’s NGK is an incoherent mess of mostly bland and sometimes inspired scenes.
Selvaraghavan tackling a political drama with Suriya at its helm made NGK the most anticipated movie of the year for me. Despite being such an intriguing combo, the movie ultimately ends up being neither a Suriya nor a Selva movie.
NGK is about Nanda Gopalan Kumar (NGK), a hot-headed do-gooder who is invariably dragged into politics by predictable circumstances. The sequence when he tries to gain the favor of an MLA (Ilavarasu) is particularly cringe-worthy. Things begin to get interesting when NGK runs into Vanathi (Rakul Preet Singh), a political analyst for the opposition party. Sai Pallavi is wasted as a spurned housewife as NGK gets into an extramarital relationship with Vanathi to further his political ambitions. NGK also has clandestine discussions with both major parties. As different subplots start converging, there is a glaring lack of clarity with proceedings and characters motives that no amount of extrapolation can explain. There are so many scenes that are bland or forced, particularly the fight sequences and the ordinary manner in which Suriya is able to manipulate political stalwarts, despite exhibiting political naivety himself.
Suriya is brilliant in his portrayal of NGK, as he futilely tries to sell us the jagged narrative almost by himself, but it all comes to naught at the end. There is a sequence, when a blood-drenched Suriya delivers an impassioned speech that you actually feel for the actor. Despite giving it his all in every single movie, it has been a wretched run of movies for him, stretching back for over a decade, despite choosing his directors with care.
Barring NGK, the other characters in the movie are not etched convincingly. Sai Pallavi’s character, whose name (Geetha) isn’t even revealed for an hour, seems to undergo a Chandramukhi-ish transformation from a doting wife to fiery mode, even mimicking Jothika’s deranged fit in Chandramukhi. While the confrontations between Geetha and Vanathi work to an extent, Selva could have done away with the pointless duet between Suriya and Rakul.
Though Selva’s brand of cinema is found lacking in NGK, there are occasional flashes of brilliance. The first time a man suggests politics to Suriya, there’s a poster of MGR in the background even as Suriya shrugs it off. There is an offhand remark about a nosebleed which foreshadows a key character getting diagnosed with terminal cancer. Selva’s use of colors, intended or otherwise, to demonstrate NGK’s spiral to the dark side was a nice touch, while his experiment with ‘breaking the fourth wall’ is met with mixed results.
Yuvan’s brilliant theme music tries to elevate key scenes in the movie, but it ends up being a vain attempt at making something better than it originally is. The leadup to the climax is inadequate, considering the cataclysmic ramifications it has to the movie’s ending. Fan theories notwithstanding, the much-touted Suriya-Selva’s NGK is an incoherent mess of mostly bland and sometimes inspired scenes.