Not everyone's cup of tea!
- Cast: Micheal Thangadurai, Gabriella Sellus, Vinusha Devi, Anupama Kumar, Afsal Hameed, Akshay Kamal, Pragya Nagra, Vadivukkarasi, Abhishek Kumar, Vadivukkarasi, and Azhagu
- Director: Lokesh Kumar
- Producers: Naveen Sharma and Lokesh Kumar
- Music: Balasubramanian G
- Runtime: 2 hours 2 minutes
Director Lokesh Kumar’s N4 is an honest take on the difficult lives that poor fisherfolk residing in the Kasimedu area lead and how a corrupt administration attempts to punish them for the sins of the wealthy.
The film revolves around four youngsters: Surya (Michael Thangadurai), Soundarya (Gabriella Sellus), Karthi (Afsal Hameed) and Abinaya (Vinusha Devi).
All four, we are told, were orphans before being adopted and brought up by an elderly fisherwoman Kannamma (Vadivukkarasi). She resides in the N4 coastal slum in the Kasimedu region.
Surya and Soundarya like each other but have no plans to get married.
Karthi and Abinaya, a speech-impaired girl, want to tie the knot and lead a life together.
The boys labour hard when they get work, which is sporadic, difficult and often involves putting their life on the line.
The girls sell fish in the markets to eke out a livelihood. Despite their struggles to make ends meet, they lead a happy, content life by the sea.
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The N4 slum, which is home to the poor fisherfolk, occasionally has the rich visiting it. Yes, bunches of well-to-do youngsters often use the place by the sea to smoke drugs and get high.
Everything is fine until one day, Surya, Karthi, Sounharya and Abinaya are returning home when they hear a gunshot being fired.
Seconds later, Abinaya, who is hit by the stray bullet, falls. What happens next is what the film is all about.
Director Lokesh needs to be congratulated for several reasons including his casting.
Looking to depart from the norm of casting only fair-skinned actresses as heroines, Lokesh casts two beautiful, dusky actresses as his lead heroines — a decision that pays off rich dividends as the actresses look the part.
His choice of lead male actors also is perfect with all four lead actors delivering commendable performances.
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Among these, Vinusha Devi as the speech-impaired girl Abinaya delivers a fine performance. Her usage of sign language and the way she emotes to convey her feelings impress us.
Michael Thangadurai, who delivered good performances even before, does a neat job yet again making one wonder why this talented actor hasn’t got his due recognition yet.
Gabriella Sellus shines as the fearless and vocal fisher girl Soundarya.
It is not just the casting that Lokesh seems to have got right. His choice of technicians to seems to have been proven right.
Take, for instance, N4’s music. Music composer Balasubramanian might not be a household name yet but he does a stellar job by giving a background score that is apt to the plot and unique to the region.
His decision to score music for a couple of songs with only percussion instruments also works big time.
The numbers, despite having only percussion music, do not appear loud or harsh and are mellifluous with a high retention value.
Cinematographer Divyank’s visuals are striking and his camera gleefully captures and presents the beauty of both the sea and the land adjoining it.
Reflects the reality
N4 narrates a relatable story steeped in reality. It shows how a corrupt administration rushes to aid the rich and help them get away even with serious crimes.
It also portrays how the poor are pinned to such crimes, despite being innocent. The poor are the ones who keep repeatedly losing whatever little they have.
What is also significant about N4 is that it does not look to paint everybody with the same brush.
It initially depicts that there are exceptions to the rule and attempts to show how compelling circumstances force even those intending to be honest inside a corrupt system are made to let go of their ideals.
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The flick picks up pace in parts. However, the story isn’t gripping for the audience to stay hooked.
Although the director ends up making pertinent points in the end, the manner in which the plot is narrated doesn’t draw you into the storyline.
Also, the editing could have been tighter.
As an entertainer, N4 may not score handsomely as it has phases that appear to be a little slow. For, it looks to narrate a good story rooted in reality.
(Views expressed are personal.)