Naai Sekar Returns (2022) Movie Review: The comeback announcement of the legendary comedian Vadivelu brought excitement and joy because it meant a power-pack experience of laughter and fun watching the actor perform. The actor, after a hiatus, is now seen as Naai Sekar in Suraaj’s Thalainagaram spin-off, Naai Sekar Returns. Right at the outset, the film received a lot of love and enthusiasm because of the popularity of the character. But does it meet the expectations?
The movie begins by taking us to 1989. The flashback started the movie quite interestingly, where a couple is barren and in want of the fruit of their love. So they offer prayers to their village deity. Upon the priest’s request, they wait at the temple, and there they come across another priest and divine soul taking recourse at the temple because of the storm. The couple offers him food, which, after being satisfied, gives them a unique dog that would bring prosperity and happiness to their lives in every way possible.
Suddenly, the narrative then switches to the dog snapper, Naai Sekar (Vadivelu). Which age are we now? the movie doesn’t say. But the dog snapper steals dogs with the help of three assistants. I laughed at the creative imagination of a profession of such sort. But could there be a possibility of its existence? Dog snapper? And would it be a viable option?
Nevertheless, the story takes us through interesting and quirky moments where Vadivelu tries his level best to crack some lame jokes with no fault of his. The business faces ups and downs because of wrong decisions taken by Vadivelu himself, assisted by his assistants. But they get into trouble only when they kidnap the beloved dog of Daas (Anandraj), a one-of-a-kind villain. Because I felt although the police or the criminals or the jailors around him worshipped him for his aura, he didn’t represent that magnanimity. Even the theme music that was played in the background seemed weak.
Only here does Sekar come to know of the magical dog through his grandmother. And the unique and important dog, through unfair means, has been abducted by Meghanathan (Rao Ramesh). Sekar is now invested to steal the dog from Meghanathan, but also in the clutches of Daas as he has stolen his dog and the car in which a bigger treasure was hidden. Will Sekar be able to manage both of these villains?
Somewhere you notice the movie tripping. Despite the legend’s hard try, it treads a difficult path to retain not just your attention but also the level of satisfaction. From the dialogue to the exhaustive entry of the villain, all of it lacks a punch. And if the jokes do not land, you start questioning yourself and your belief in the movie and the reason why you desperately waited for.
The second half of the movie introducing us to the second villain brings us back to the movie, but even that fails to hold us for long. However, what holds the movie, perhaps, is the one-liners of Vadivelu that have stood the test of time and have been the lingo of the youngsters. But the screenplay depends too much on the jokes of the past rather than giving the audience something new to chew and digest. Was the director Suraaj just capitalizing on the nostalgia of Vadivelu and his comedy that needed a desperate comeback? The soundtrack, although distracting, is able to maintain the rhythm of the movie.
Comedy in Tamil cinema seems to be taking a back seat if not for Vadivelu taking the onus and dishing out something spectacular. Naai Sekar Returns could have been better if the screenplay had been given more attention and the development of the dog snapper concept itself was done. Other than Vadivelu struggling to hold this movie intact is Bobby (Shivani Narayanan), who plays the sister of Meghanathan. She does justice to her character. Whereas Surangani Ambal (Sivaangi Krishnakumar) gets a lesser screen time leaving her with no chance to perform at all.
While this may not be the best comeback for Vadivelu, thankfully, he is coming back. Let us hope and wait for more of his work to see the light of day and help the comedy of Tamil cinema survive and thrive.