Movie Review: NOTA
Vijay Deverakonda, Mehreen, Satya Raj, Nasser and Others
Director - Anand Shankar
Producer - Gnanavel Raja
Banner - Studio Green
Music - Sam C.S.
Rising superstar Vijay Deverakonda's latest film NOTA is a political thriller. It is a bilingual directed by Anand Shankar. The film is an out an out political film sans all elements that cater to youth and families.
What is it about?
Varun (Vijay) becomes Chief Minister overnight as his father the sitting CM (Nasser) is caught in a criminal case. Varun has no clue of how to run the Government. He just waits for his father to take back the responsibilities. However, he is forced to sit in CM's chair as his father is convicted and taken into the custody. Opposition party tries to bring down Varun by using his weaknesses. A swamiji plots to kill Varun's father to get hold of his benami properties.
Vijay Deverakonda's strength lies in keeping it simple. Despite a challenging character, Vijay makes it appear so easy and effortless with his natural performance. He is the only asset for this political thriller that goes awry from the word go. Mehreen has little role to play. She has been wasted. Nasser is good as Chief Minister and Satya Raj is apt as Vijay's moral support. Priyadarshi is a miscast as the hacker.
Anand Shankar might have inspired from real incidents in Tamilnadu politics after Jayalalitha passed away. NOTA is loosely based upon that interesting scenario but couldn't click because of a lackluster script. Taut screenplay is required to make such political thrillers work. Director seems to have run out of ideas after the beginning that he just goes with the flow without any aim or direction.
Background score is fine but the songs are very bad. Bad editing and poor production design works against the film. Cinematography is impressive and production values are strictly okay.
Lack of nativity
The storyline and characterization might have excited Vijay Deverakonda and understandably so. A fully content youngster forced to become overnight Chief Minister is an exciting point. Vijay who likes to play different characters must have seen enough potential in playing this 'Rowdy CM'. In fact, there is a lot of potential in the plot as well as the protagonist's characterization. However, it isn't that exciting for Telugu audience as they have seen similar setting in Mahesh's recent film Bharat Ane Nenu.
Bharat Ane Nenu has been dealt in a commercial format and NOTA tries to be as natural as possible. Sadly, poor writing and weak execution made it an outrageously boring political thriller. Initial scenes are engaging as we can feel the pain of Varun, who is not ready to take such a huge responsibility. There is an impactful scene where he takes charge and corners his party leaders and workers. But a scene later Varun is back to being an aimless youngster who plays video games.
We expect a lot from the second half as there is so much scope to elevate 'the rowdy CM', but things take a nosedive with the director focusing upon the satire on current state of Tamilnadu politics. Tamil audience may relate to it, but Telugu audience will be terribly disappointed with this boring drama. Without proper elevation scenes of Chief Minister and lack of other elements like humor and engaging drama, NOTA turns out to be a slog.
There is a heroine for the sake of it. All Mehreeen gets is a couple of scenes where she is not even seen romancing Vijay. Even the songs are party songs that don't add any value to the film. There are a couple of flashback scenes on Satya Raj and Nasser that are supposed to give a family angle to the drama, but they are totally out of sync with the political drama. On the whole, NOTA is a badly made political film that neither strikes a chord with the masses nor youth. There is nothing impressive about the film besides Vijay Deverakonda who shines in a couple of sequences.
Verdict: Out of Place!