Nedunalvaadai, is a crowd-funded film directed by debutante director Selvakannan. There were no producers to fund this offbeat film, so it was bankrolled by the director along with his collegemates, and alumni of Sankar Polytechnic, Tirunelveli. The film is set in Tirunelveli and is narrated from the heroine’s perspective and rewinds 10 years from the present scenario.
Elango (Elvis Alexander) and his mother are abandoned by his father at a young age and are raised by his grandfather Chellaiah (Poo Ramu), who is a farmer. Chellaiah wants his grandson to succeed in his career and take care of the struggling family. The portions of Elango and Chellaiah’s relationship is depicted in a heart-warming manner, we hardly come across such bonding in Tamil cinema. Things begin to fall apart when Amudha (Anjali Nair) falls in love with Elango, who doesn’t reciprocate at first as he wants to focus on his career and family. However, she convinces him of her love and Elango’s focus deviates and he even goes to an extent of quitting his job for his love. The first half introduces all characters in the film and gives a chance to witness some relatable performances. The second half maintains the same tone and mood and builds up for a beautiful climax. We couldn’t think of anything but applaud genuine filmmaking and writing of Selvakannan backed by some brilliant performances.
The story is set in the village of Panavadali Chathiram near Tirunelveli. The actors grab the audience’s attention with their flawless dialect. Poo Ramu stands out from the rest and is very relatable as that father-figure, who wants you to succeed in life.
The dialogues are a high point in the film. For instance, an employer tells Elango, Background verify pannadhula, unga appa oru communistaam. Adhunaala unaku inga velai illa (While we did a background verification, we learnt that your father is a communist). Elango being a diploma holder gets selected for a job in a factory in Chennai, Despite explaining to his employer that he hasn’t been living with his father, he gets rejected saying that it is an undeniable fact that the communist is still his father. Cinematography by Vinoth Rathinasamy, captures the emotions and the landscape and has made the film more intense. In fact, his visuals have justified the title of Nedunalvaadai, which translates to Long Cold Breeze of Solace.
Those who are familiar with Sangam Literature in Tamil can relate to the crux of the story from bard Nakkeerar’s lines which mean, “Unfailing clouds climbed to the right, circling and chilling the earth and came down as fresh rains.” This is what Poo Ramu’s character represent when you watch the film. The film is a rare and modest depiction of human life that has been conveyed with the best cast. The only flaw is a couple of predictable romantic sequences. I would say, it is unfortunate for Tamil cinema producers for not identifying such films, which are made with conviction. Overall, Nedunalvaadai is a surprise winner which none of us would have predicted.