Nanjupuram is a throwback at the snake-human conflict movies that once ruled Tamil movies – the most successful of them being the Kamal, Sripriya starrer Neeya. Although director Charles uses the revenge of snakes as a metaphor to reach at the larger picture of caste discrimination, the medium often tends to take over the message as the movie is filled with slimy creatures slithering around almost every other scene. Not to mention, the director also seems to provide fodder to the superstitions existent in villages about snakes.
Nanjupuram is a snake-infested village. The poisonous snakes quite often bring death to the villagers in terms of snake bites but the villagers never do anything to eradicate the growing snake population, since they consider the snakes to be holy. Raghav, who belongs to the upper echelons of the village, however, is not reluctant to kill them. Based on the beliefs, it’s acceptable to kill a snake but not to leave it injured. The snake comes back to take revenge, the villagers believe.
Raghav commits one such mistake and all hell breaks loose. To top that, he is also in love with Monica – a girl from the lower castes of the village. Upon consultation with the village pundits, it is learnt that Raghav should be accommodated in a custom built attic for 45 days to prevent the snake from reaching him. After 45 days, the snake will relent, it is told. Raghav agrees to the plan but breaks it by intermittently coming down to meet the love of his life, Monica. This wreaks further havoc and finally the couple decides to elope. But could they achieve it? Nanjupuram culminates into a climax in which director Charles attempts to give a telling message.
Raghav has multitasked, taking up the music part as well apart from acting. He manages to pull both the responsibilities off, albeit not with flying colors. Raghav also scores in the climax. His acting is well-rehearsed and his music, all right. Monica is the low caste girl and her histrionics stay true to the movie’s plot. Thambi Ramayya takes the cake with his performance as a double-faced village president who discriminates the tribals as untouchables in public but seeks them for his physical needs. Nanjupuram also has passable visual effects by Sunil.
What work against the movie are the rusty story and the plot. Having decided to put across a message with his movie, Charles had taken up a plot mired with logical loopholes. Agreed the plot is set in a tribal village and hence superstitions are dime a dozen. But the success of a director lies in the portrayal of sensitive subjects and it’s also in the director’s conscientiousness to stop getting carried away by the conventional clichés. Both of which, Charles seems not have achieved.
Verdict: Clichéd snake story!