Gautham Menon takes up a very pertinent issue as the theme of 'Nadunisi Naaygal' (midnight dogs) - child sex abuse and the effect it has on children, even though they do not all grow up to be the monster portrayed in the movie. He is the single name that has brought the crowd to the theatres to see Nadunisi Naigal and that itself is a credit to the director, who has created a place for himself in K-Town. The movie, sans any big name – neither actors nor music directors – has pulled a lot of crowd to the halls just because of this man. Hats off to the director for this achievement.
The movie seems heavily inspired from the characters with split personalities in Thomas Harris' books 'Red Dragon' and 'The Silence of the Lambs'. In the first, the protagonist is unable to control his violent, sexual urges because of abuse he suffered as a child, and in the second a serial killer kidnaps women and skins them. In 'Nadunisi Naaygal', Veera kidnaps, sexually abuses women, kills them and then removes their scalp for their hair.
Sexually molested, physically abused and mentally tormented by his father, Veera becomes a warped person, who though saved by a kind woman, Meenakshi, remains in a state of severe psychological trauma. And as a young man, he develops such a Jekyll-and-Hyde personality that he fails to distinguish between what is real and what is not, kidnapping, raping and imprisoning women at will. He has a free run in Chennai for a couple of years, with law enforcers and the families of victims strangely out of the scene.
Veera has tremendous screen presence and fulfils the faith reposed in him by the director. In his earlier avataar he was a production assistant to Gautham Menon, but he has taken to acting like a natural. Despite great performances by the lead pair, including Sameera Reddy (Sukanya), who as one of Veera’s hapless preys is perhaps at her career’s best here, Nadunisi Naaygal falters over its script. Also, the film looks more like it has been made for an elite multiplex audiences as camera movement and narration is typical Hollywood in style and technique. The film is definitely not for the family audiences, and in fact some of the scenes are Squamish and are a bit too explicit.
Manoj Paramahamsa quite literally makes a splash from the first scene onwards when Veera shoots dead a cop who falls in a puddle of water. The close-ups of the mentally-ill protagonist and the shots inside his SUV, in which he kidnaps Sukanya, and his house add to the claustrophobic feel of the movie.
Don’t go expecting a typical Gautham romantic film laced with peppy songs, be prepared to try out something new and experimental. Be warned that there are no songs and background music; still Nadunisi Naaygal gives you the Goosebumps.