Review Tamil

Natpe Thunai review: Sloppy sports drama with no heart

Release Date: 04 Apr 2019

Cinestaan Rating

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Haricharan Pudipeddi

Barring some moments, Natpe Thunai is a poorly written and executed friendship-based sports drama that tries to piggyback on the success of Adhi’s previous outing, Meesaya Murukku (2017).

Natpe Thunai, which is centred on a national-level hockey player and his love for the sport, spends very little time on the sport. Instead, it wants to be a friendship drama as well as a sports film and never quite does justice to either genre in the process.

Hiphop Tamizha Adhi and team, following the runaway success of Meesaya Murukku (2017), reunite to deliver a film that has some decent moments and a well choreographed hockey sequence but otherwise is quite flat and boring.

The plot revolves around Prabhakaran (Adhi), a former national-level hockey player who now aspires to move to France. When he moves to Karaikal for this purpose, he falls in love with Deepa, a local hockey player. It is through Deepa that Prabha meets Shanmugam, the coach of the local hockey team.

Shanmugam and his boys train at the local ground which has a legacy attached to it. When a multinational corporation sets its eyes on the ground and they take the help of local politician Harichandran (Karu Pazhaniappan) to get the job done, Prabha and Shanmugam’s boys must join forces to play for their ground.

Natpe Thunai borrows several threads of the story from several films over the years. To play for their honour and protect their ground is a thread very similar to what we saw in Aamir Khan’s Lagaan (2001, Hindi). The flashback episode featuring a friend and his suicide because he comes from a very backward community is a thread borrowed from Shankar’s Gentleman (1993, Tamil). Finally, the sub-plot about an MNC trying to take over a piece of land is straight out of AR Murugadoss’s Kaththi (2014, Tamil).

For a film with a sports angle, Natpe Thunai spends more time building the friendship angle in the story than actually playing the game. Adhi portrays a professional hockey player who has represented India at the under-19 level, but there is hardly any effort to make us root for his character when he actually plays hockey.

The pre-interval portion is where we really get to see Prabha showcase his hockey skills and this entire is beautifully shot. You expect to get invested more in Prabha’s story in the second half but, sadly the film never takes itself seriously.

The political subplot is merely used to address a few issues that have social media value. If not for the thoroughly entertaining Karu Pazhaniappan, who plays a corrupt-to-the-bone politician, even the political angle in the film would have fallen flat. The much hyped sports angle in the climax works in parts and is barely cheer-worthy but for a few shots.

Natpe Thunai, barring some moments, is a poorly written and executed friendship-based sports drama that tries to piggyback on the success of Adhi’s previous outing Meesaya Murukku (2017), which was a super hit. It has neither the tension nor the serious tone to sell itself as a rousing sports drama.


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