NOTA (None of the above) is a political thriller starring Vijay Deverakonda and Mehreen Pirzada in lead roles. Sanchana Natarajan, Nasser and Sathyaraj played key roles. K E Gnanavel Raja produced the film under Studio Green banner and Anand Shankar directed it. NOTA released worldwide on 5th Oct, 2018.
A corrupt CM, Ramaswamy (Nasser), announces his son, Varun (Vijay Deverakonda), as next CM overnight. Varun is a spoilt brat who doesn’t care about politics or public. Ramaswamy strictly orders Varun to stay at home and not to take any decisions without his permission. But circumstances pull Varun into the political game and he decides to play the game. How Varun handled his father, opposition parties and another unknown threat forms the crux of the story.
NOTA is penned around several specific problems but failed to connect them. The film rather seems like a documentary on recent Tamil politics with one segment at a time. The film rushes into the main plot without wasting much time but then moves aimlessly at a snail’s pace. The first plot point occurs at interval and the mid-point happens in pre-climax. The climax has a lot of scope to showcase the problems in politics and develop the script but everything ends within a short runtime. The entire first half is used to establish characters and the conflict and then the second half revolves around Governance and personal life of some characters ignoring the questions raised at interval.
NOTA is a fearless and genuine attempt at flaws of Tamil politics. But the problem is that the writer penned the script around several assumptions. The writers are of the opinion that any problem can be solved by politicians at snap of the fingers and the public are ready to help the Government. In reality, the general public are no less corrupt than any politician. The rowdy CM tag for a speech seems ridiculous, and in fact the public are fed up with the use of abusive and vulgar words used by politicians nowadays. There are MLAs in India who beat up thugs on road when attacked. It would’ve been effective if he earns the rowdy tag through actions instead of words.
The intensity required for the role of lead actor is missing. Although Vijay Deverakonda is angry or sad at a moment, he laughs and parties in a next scene as if everything he does is a political drama. This takes away the empathy of audience for the role. The characters lack development and are shallow. In fact, the entire thread of Nasser and Sathyaraj flashbacks has no importance in the central theme and can be avoided for more important things.
Vijay Deverakonda is good as a young politician. His performance is intense throughout the film but his dialogues are broken word by word several times (Don’t know if it was done for style but it feels like watching a dubbed Tamil film). Mehreen Pirzada has runtime less than several side characters. There is no romance or chemistry between the lead pair. Sathyaraj plays a crucial role and his performance is impressive. Nasser is powerful as a corrupt politician. Sanchana Natarajan has a key role and she leaves her mark. Priyadarshi appears in a minor role and he is good within the limited scope. The director AR Murugadoss appears in a short cameo role.
The script could have been better with some research. The dialogues are satirical on politics but doesn’t reveal anything about the characters. The production values are good. The cinematography is decent. The songs are bad but the background score is gripping. In fact, the film could have been considered as drama instead of thriller without such an intense BGM. The editing is a disaster and there is no flow between the scenes. It feels like watching multiple episodes of a TV serial. The direction is equally bad and the director shows his inexperience several times. The elevation scenes fall flat as the director tried to elevate using fast cuts instead of blocking and performances. The film seems like written, shot and released in a hurry.
NOTA is a film that focusses primarily on Tamil politics. Although they promoted it like a bilingual, it’s still a Tamil dubbed film that tries to convince the audience to believe Chennai as Hyderabad. It may appeal to the fans of Vijay Deverakonda but normal audience can avoid it.