Neethane En Ponvasantham Movie Review- Wasted Opportunity

Neethane En Ponvastham Movie PosterProduced by Photon Kathaas and RS Infotainment, directed by Gautham Vasudev Menon, Neethane En Ponvasantham is a love story (or as the director cleverly puts it across – moments from Varun-Nithya’s love story). With excellent acting, fantastic music, pleasing-on-the-eye cinematography, Neethane En Ponvasantham is a great case study of sum being lesser than the parts. The film starts off when Varun joins college and he meets Nithya in the college culturals. They share a history of love-hate relationship. First, they meet when they were kids and then when they were in school. Sparks fly when they meet during college and they are together for the next four years. The film tries to capture some interesting moments in their lives. Unfortunately, only some of the moments are engaging.

I am not a great fan of GVM’s Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa. It was not bad cinema, it wasn’t a plot oriented film but a character oriented film. But when the director tries the same technique again in NEP, he falls flat. Despite excellent acting bySamantha andJiiva, you really do not care as much for Varun and Nithya as you should have. Beyond a point their fights become irritating and you wonder why at all they should be together. The biggest drawback of NEP is the script focuses too much on the fights between Varun and Nithya and not so much on romantic moments. And you know the director has faltered when he packs off Nithya on a holiday to Edinburgh, and focuses on Varun and you immediately sit up with interest. The moment Nithya is back, the script sags again.

Just like in the Tamil film Khushi, a key scene happens on the rooftop just before the interval – the roof top acts as a character here (Varun-Nithya have had some real intimate moments in this rooftop), but the scene is absolutely ineffective due to the mishandling by the director. (The scene from Khushi in comparison is Citizen Kane – more on this a bit later). To give credit to the film, there are a few moments which are engaging. Nithya teaching Varun how to pronounce Edinburgh, the initial school scenes, the climax scene in the same rooftop, the family scenes which changes Varun from a boy to a man, and the first few moments in the college culturals are really entertaining. Incidentally, these are the portions when Varun and Nithya do not fight!

And GVM has done the biggest disservice to Ilayaraja by having improper situations for at least 3 songs. Mudhal Murai, Kaatrai konjam and Ennodu act as speed breakers. The songs are picturised with love and care but due to the situations in which they occur, you really do not get involved. But the balance 4 songs – Saindhu Saindhu, Sattru Munbu, Vaanam Mella and Pengal Endral – are good. Sattru Munbu is riveting in its picturisation in the climax, and the way Samantha emotes here clearly lifts the film to a different level. (Thengi pona Ore nadhiyena indru naanada – you can see it in her eyes – frankly I did not think she could act this well).

Neethane En Ponvasantham Roof Top Scene

Ah! The rooftop!!!

The climax is very good on its own, but when compared to the rest of the film, it is outstanding. And what works here are the moments where no one talks – and this is where Raja scores. What a BGM in the last few minutes. When you hear Raja’s BGM in the last few scenes, you immediately realize what is wrong with the film – through the film, some one or other keeps on talking, and there is just no scope for BGM. GVM – Is this how you write scenes? You should have learnt from a less sensitive director (perhaps more street smart) like S.J.Surya. Take the Khushi rooftop scene for example, Vijay and Jothika fight in the rooftop – they keep on arguing – the pitch of their tones keep on getting high – and then an airplane takes off nearby and interrupts their argument for a few moments – and it provides such a character to the scene.

And when Vijay says something he should not have said, the director immediately focuses on Jothika’s close up reaction. She is so hurt that Vijay immediately realizes the mistake he has done and his facial expression conveys that he is really sorry for what he had said. But she is now so hurt that she isn’t prepared to give him another chance – the director focuses on close ups and the music director gives a reasonable good BGM and then the scene becomes so very effective. GVM – You may well want to show that the rooftop is a character by opting for a long shot that covers the rooftop as well as Chennai skyline, but you can’t extend it to the whole scene. It reduces the experience to watching something like a stage play.

And you take a genius like Raja, who changed the way BGM was written in Indian Cinema, and offer him no scope at all? I mean, isn’t this suicide? Here is a composer, who had saved films like Idhayam before. And the moment you listen to the last couple of scenes, you know Raja could have saved Neethane En Ponvasantham, if the director thought about BGM when conceiving shot composition. But the current product is even beyond the Maestro. Wasted Opportunity.



67 thoughts on “Neethane En Ponvasantham Movie Review- Wasted Opportunity

  1. Good work Anand in watching it so soon & following it with a review as well. Can’t comment more without watching it, hope to do so over the weekend & get back here….

  2. NEP released in the Gulf countries yesterday,the author happens to be living there as well & that’s why the review is here so quick.

    • I already watched this movie.Not even GVM satisfied his previous movies.only good thing is Ilayaraja music.But one point songs are irritating in this movie becoz every 5 min we can see one song……..
      So NEP is below average………Sorry to say that.

  3. Feels like you’re trying to nitpick. Issues you’ve mentioned don’t sound that bad, except for the lack of BGM. I still have hope!


  5. like the post.. my only problem is that you seem more concerned about why Ilaiyaraja didn’t get enough scope for BGM than how the movie is.. it’s the director’s call na? also, comparing the roof scene in the official review indicates a bias, which i think should have been avoided..

  6. VTV,,didnt have any major plot or subplot yet it was a hit,,Maybe NEP is along that line. I rather wait and watch for myself.

    • Yes sir – you must watch it yourself and decide. VTV was a big hit, but did not work completely for me. May be NEP will also turn out to be a big hit…who knows? Does not mean I should have a contrarian opinion, right?

  7. No! I had loved VTV and was expecting a lot from this film. Your review has significantly lowered my expectations. But i will still check the film out for myself. If not for GVM or even Raja Sir, I will watch it for the lovely SAMANTHA!

    And that you are placed in the Middle East is such an advantage to us! 🙂

  8. How very well and precisely written review! I was hooked onto every line of it. Anand, I would like to reserve my agreement/disagreement to your reviews as I haven’t watched the movie yet. But I am tempted that I should take this review as a cue to miss the movie! Kudos to your talent!

  9. Love the review. Waiting to see the film. Wanna see those four songs of the maestro which you have mentioned been done justice.

    • Some portions of Santhanam are good. But his role is more like Chinni Jayanth in Idhayam – actually the college portions have a lot of late 80s – beginning 90s movies feel to it. Reminded me of Chinna Poove Mella Pesu, Idhayam, Eeramana Rojave etc.

  10. I would say the reviewer is not eligible to review this work of GVM ( me a telugu guy n love GVMs work) for obvious below reasons
    1) Some one who is not fan of VTV/YMC(tel) cannot catch the beauty/innocence of such plots
    2) C`mmon- Santhanam is not the only guy in kollywood who can save movies???? Not sure when kollywood comes out of the over-rated comedian. How pity movies like Naan-Ee has to be publicized initially as Santhanams movie

    I`m sure the hit/flop in kollywood for this movie depends if the movie has any shcking twist in the end just like VTV. and predicting telugu version to be hit if the movie is engaging till the end. From your review, i believe its engaging till the end
    Fingers crossd ( 4 Samantha )

    I wish 3 of the songs are cut. Nachaledu, 1 yuvans song, 1 ramyas song – Not sure about the tamil counterparts. These are not at all good and would defintely break the flow of the movie

    • I would beg to differ here
      1) A movie is a movie. GVM is no god with a different medium. Even if he is a great filmmaker, his offering to us is his film and it can be reviewed through anyone’s eyes
      2) One post might not be enough to say how many movies have been saved by comedians in tamil(same with telugu and legends like brahmi too) . Santhanam is the best we have currently and though like any comedian, he can irritate at times, he has worked hard and developed a unique style to reach where he has. It is not his fault that filmmakers try to leverage him so much. If it works , it works or else he will slide automatically
      3) An end can salvage a movie to a great extent but on its own cant give a great movie. With VTV a lot of it was about the beautiful journey too
      4) You may dislike those songs(even i hated some of those 3), but that doesnt mean the situation for those 3 songs never existed

      • 1) we have very few gods ( film-makers) who directs feel-good/realistic movies. There is no denying that GVM is one of them. Reviewrs forgive mass movies if there are unnecesary scenes/song situations/slow pace/gravity defying fights or complain that its too trashy/massy(eg: Dabangg)- but expect movies from clas directors to be picture perfect from start to end. We expect good movies and support from reviewers bring people for such movies( i see some of the user comments who says they will not watch movie after reading the review)
        2) Agree but most of those are commercially safe movies. How pity if the reviewers say that movie like Geetanjali is slow paced and comedians steal the show and are only saving grace of the movie!!
        4) Agree. however I`m forcing myself to believe now that VTV ws hit in tamil only due to big stars and arrehman. one of telgu dir tells tht we lost the innocence of 90s, hence he set his story in 90s so tht the scenes r more believable. Not sure if we audience lost such innocence of such plots nd only route to commercial or good romantic mvs with sanathanam/brahmi touch

  11. Anand Very Good Review. Decided to book the tickets after the review. I am great fan of Raja Sir, saw the grand audio launch live at Nehru Indoor Stadium. Let me watch and post my views. To add a point, do you remember the film Nandalala (At the latest of Raja Sir) in which the BGM speaks more than dialogues, that’s Raja Sir Magic. Cheers

    • Sandy: Thanks for the comment. Glad you liked the review. Yes, I loved Nandalala’s BGM. But the movie was too over the top for my liking 😦

  12. Watched the Movie. 80 % of People in the movie was booing and making irritating noises but i was enjoying it from the first scene to the last. I was with them with all their emotions..Only 3 scenes which i felt was bot properly executed was the arguing scenes between the lead actors..Jiiva and Samantha acted so well.. I loved the movie ..Its Romantic Musical Journey .. Cut a lil bit of arguing scenes and u have a beautiful movie.

  13. hopeless…..climax with radhika varun marriage would have been better… a dragging climax….no point in varun nithya marrying….

  14. Nice that you publish reviews first.. but when you publish reviews before the public release of the film, and you have a bad heading to it, ppl get demotivated about watching the movie. 😦


    • Gireesh – Beg to disagree please. Any review is a personal opinion of the reviewer and many a times it has been proved that reviews have no bearing on the box office results of a film! I loved Shanghai and published my review here – did it result in a superhit?

      • well, bad spreads fast thn good. Hence Shanghai good review is not taken up by public. Moreover, for bollywood movies- taran adarsh, rajeev masand, anupama, komal etc are more popular.people will route for their reviews than yours!!
        These guys intentionally postpone posting their reviews before release if the review is bad!!Can we learn from them??

  15. If you haven’t had romance during your teenage and college days [ ie ..99% of men in TN ] , you are very unlikely to identify with the movie. For me , I was in ecstasy till Interval and my wife was asking as to whats wrong with me that I was smiling throughout. I had two smokes during interval and was thinking about S [ in primary school], B [Middle school] , J[HSC] , C[college] and F[college and PG] with whom i was romantically inclined/involved during my teenage and college days. Just that it was different person at different time with finally marrying F. So I just felt like watching myself in the screen [ little uglier version probably 😉 ]. Now i get why many folks hate this movie. Its simply because they never had any damn romance during this period of life and they just have no clue about how beautiful and complex, women are 🙂

    • Ah!Joe now that’s the comment I was expecting from you & I can so really empathize with you as I studied in T.N too & had my share of ‘special females’ in my life then :). Maybe that’s why I could connect to VTV so much I guess :). Anyways lemme watch NEP soon & then get back here 🙂

      • Sethu , This one beats the shit out of #VTV. Trust me …this is Gautham’s best ever. I can bet my only bottle of perfume to say that this bugger has taken leaves out of his life when weaving the screenplay. There were many small events that’ll take you back to your own life , which makes the movie exceptional. Jivva and Samantha have done their best . This will remain their best performance :). But as i said .. the “never been kissed before marriage” types wont get it 😉

      • thought not sure, this could be fact said by joe..
        you dont hv to counter argue on this. what joe means is most of the men and not every TN men!!!

  16. THE NEVER BEEN KISSED BEFORE TYPES WILL NEVER GET THIS FILM…SPOT ON!!!I nothing like an argument, heated, nothing like having the last insulting word and not meaning it, nothing like banging the phone down first……..You gotta have experienced all of this to get the movie…..briiliantly handled film, for a change, the songs take the movie forward instead of actually waiting for the story to start again….lots of little surprises, end leaves you with a happy feeling and yes, couples like that will fight for ever and that is reality and that is definitely more fun, than living in boring adjusting relationships!!! super film…kudos to Gautham Menon and the crew!!

  17. @Suraj- Why do you even think I am going to counter Joe & that too even before watching the film? Read my earlier comment carefully,I’ve in fact just endorsed Joe’s opinion.Anyways hope to watch it tomorrow & I just feel that I might end up liking NEP as well 🙂

    • Sethu
      Sorry-misinterpreted/misread your earlier comment in hurry.
      watched YVM today- speechless
      heart broke for samantha
      The movie is big lesson for every upcoming film-maker to understand “how not to make a movie” – total disaster
      Are these class directors becoming victims of their own cinema- first maniratnam with raavan now gvm.

      the only positives are intiial 20 minutes/priyatama song from guna movie. Also i did not know that Samantha has such huge fan following..she almost got whistles equivalent to top actor for her intro scene.

      Sorry i take back my words in my earlier comments!

  18. Tks for the factual review. Just now watched NEP.
    +Movie refresh, recall,kindles the romance from each of our heart.
    Eye-catching pleasant picturisation
    Bgm n songs plunge into soul
    -Irritating repetetive arguments,frequent songs like 1940 movie’s, dragging screenplay, ofcourse wasting maestro for giving no scope for bgm score.
    But still worth/must watch movie…!!

  19. Well here I’m a day after I finally saw NEP and I must say that it worked only in parts for me. I enjoyed most of the 1st half as I could relate to the proceedings quite well. It reminded me of lots of things I’ve done in school & college :). But the 2nd half was a letdown for most part. And while I know I shouldn’t be comparing,I still rate VTV a lot more higher than this. Oh!yes btw Samantha is surely going the right way,no doubt about that ….

    • Yep… first half is kickass. It becomes a “normal” movie in second half. I am considering the idea of writing about the movie. Just trying to figure out whether the feeling is temporary or not. If its not , am writing something 😀

      • @Anand- just read BR’s take & have to give it to him, I think he’s analyzed NEP very,very well. Its also why I feel that the movie cannot be summarily dismissed as a lot of people have been doing so.

        @Joe- Pls go ahead & write, will be interesting to read another POV on the film 🙂

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