Friday, November 26, 2010

Nenapirali or listen to how much I hate Nenapirali Prem

Another transferred review from ages ago - I still listen to the OST of this film... beautiful songs! Also, spoilers ahoy for the pre-interval half!

Nenapirali was a frustrating experience because it could have been so much better than it was. The fault lies with one character and the actor playing him. I will lay it all out for you…

Nenapirali begins with Indu, a dreamy and romantic girl who is dating this dope Ekanth, who is totally uninterested in her.

In fact, as the movie makes clear, Ekanth is really only looking to get married because his father wants him to be settled.

(Ekanth is the glasses and moustache guy on the right.)

After a series of increasingly frustrating interactions with Ekanth, Indu gets fed up and basically breaks up with him by saying that her parents only want her to marry somebody in the military or the son of a politician or something when IN FACT her parents say she can marry her choice. Well, Ekanth is a businessman and not a politician so the case should be closed. But then what would become of the movie?!

Enter this pushy, filmi romantic guy – Kishore. He’s channeling the pushy, Shahrukh Khan to the Nth degree!

He even
sneaks into her bedroom to push his case! Being a good girl, she agrees to meet him in private so that she can tell him to leave her alone.

(That’s Kishore with his “Cool Guy” motorcycle in the back.)

At this point, about 20 minutes in, I hated both Kishore AND Ekanth so much I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to finish the movie. But the movie is saved when it turns out that Ekanth, in a last ditch effort to marry Indu, has recruited his best friend KISHORE to “court” Indu. Seeing that Kishore is obviously not the better choice – what logic he was using I couldn’t figure out – her parents would surely not object to Ekanth. Caught in her own lie, she goes along with it.

And here is where I began really getting into things – it turns out that Kishore has been
studying old movies for hints on how to court ladies!!

(Kishore with his sister taking notes on the classics.)

This song kind of says it all.

Indu is all ready to call everything off she is so frustrated with Kishore! But then he agrees to just spend time with her – as friends - and tone down the over-the-top stuff. Not surprisingly she falls for him.

Imagine – a guy who spends time with you! Doing what you want! Like riding around in the country and painting in the countryside! Indu falls head-over-heels. She prefers the guy who hangs around with her to the one that ignores her – except when it’s convenient to him, of course.

The problem with this is that Kishore has been acting on behalf of his friend Ekanth! And it’s bros before hos for this guy and he tells her that he can't betray his friend.

The story then switches over to Indu’s sister Bindu, who is the cutest thing I have ever seen.

Bindu is the kind of girl who will sit in bed playing her harmonica with the covers over her head because there is no water. She’s the kind of girl who will take all day to get to her new internship working for KISHORE because she wanted to drive to the beach and pick up sea shells. She’s bouncy and full of life and very unlike her dreamy head-in-the-clouds sister.

So, will Kishore return to romantic Indu? Romance the more worldly Bindu? Should you watch to find out? YES!

I really did enjoy this film – it’s good. It’s shot in a very modern
Hum Tum self-aware style – meaning there was none of the wacky camera angles and triple takes of people and only one (very minor) comic relief character. What kept it from being a great film… was Kishore, played by Prem. (And if this article is to be believed, the last three films of Nenapirali Prem have all flopped.)

Here is the problem with Kishore – he lets Indu fall in love with him knowing that he is going to keep himself from falling for her. IF the script had made it clear that Kishore was just spending time with Indu as a friend and SHE was the one who had the crush, I would have been fine with it. But instead, Kishore goes out of his way to do romantic things for her – like a candlelit dinner in a beautiful ruin or writing her poetry and drawing sappy portraits of her. His rejection of her just seems that much crueler when he had spent the last hour
romancing her. And with no remorse! Another opportunity to give the audience something to sympathize with – he rejects her because he doesn’t want to hurt his friend, okay, but then why go out of his way to make her feel bad about it? Didn't he encourage these feelings through his actions?

Nenapirali you had two good choices and picked a third and worse one.

When I remake this as a Hindi film, I’m picking… a) She’s a day dreamy type and it’s easy to see that she’d mistake friendship for romance.

And here is the problem with Nenapirali Prem – he’s unattractive AND he can’t act. Seriously.

We, the audience, are supposed to believe that both the lovely Indu and Bindu actually WANT this guy? I couldn’t believe it. This role required someone with either really good looks or a lot of charisma and Nenapirali Prem has neither. He morphs into this weird uptight character in the second half. Why? We never find out. He obviously couldn’t care less about Indu so why the dour attitude?

In my Hindi language version, Kishore will feel so guilty for what happens with Indu that he’ll be all depressed…!

Kishore’s sister has some good advice for Bindu – “We create feelings, not the other way around.” It’s the rationale behind the arranged marriage after all. And certainly this movie is an argument for
not letting your precious daughters romance unworthy guys because of the ‘feelings’ that will develop. You can’t let those go so easily – even knowing that you created them.

I realize this is a lengthy complaint for a film I enjoyed but Kishore/Prem really bothered me. Indu and Bindu were delightful, the songs were amazing, the story was (mostly) good, and the direction was nice. I would most certainly recommend this one for people who want Indian movies more similar to American ones – like
Hum Tum or Salaam Namaste.

1 comment:

S said...

Another Kannada film review! I really enjoyed this one as well and although I thought Kishore was a bit of a jerk I found Prem to be really hot. LOL I don't remember what happens in the end though - do Kishore and Bindu get together? Indu irritated me a bit but I don't think she deserved her fate. And the OST of this movie is amazing. Kurakk kukralli kere really brings back some good memories of holidays spent in Mysore. But since the beauty of the song is in its lyrics I'm afraid some of the appeal must have gotten lost for people who don't understand the language. I wish there was a subtitled version of the song.

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