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INDRU NETRU NAALAI (Tamil/2015) - Probably the 'Best Time Travel film' from Indian Cinema till date with its complete focus on entertainment following an extremely well-written narrative travelling through its various timelines. (Movies To See Before You Die - Adventure/Thriller)

06 Jan, 2017 | Indian Regional language Gems (Other Than Hindi) / Movie Reviews / 2015 Releases / Movies To See Before You Die / Adventure

Films based on the theme of ‘Time Travel’ can largely be divided into two different categories as conceived and designed by the renowned directors of World Cinema in the last few decades.
One - focusing completely on the thrill, entertainment and humour element in the concept of visiting the past or future.
And two - looking at it in a more introspective and complex manner with a multi-layered kind of narrative targeting a particular section of viewers, missing the fun and entertainment quotient.

Personally I love and truly enjoy the first kind of films in comparison to the second and that is the reason rate the BACK TO THE FUTURE series (English/1980s) as ‘The Best’ on the subject till date without any second thoughts.

No doubt, the genre of ‘Time Travel Science Fiction’ has been tried by various directors of Indian cinema too in the last couple of decades. But I honestly never found any one of them even reaching close to the level of BACK TO THE FUTURE ever due to more than one reasons.

Luckily, my disappointment ended with INDRU NETRU NAALAI, a Tamil film released in 2015 based on the exciting theme, as it transported me into a similar zone, wherein I felt excited to be with the characters going back in time (twice) through a time-machine, correcting a serious mistake unintentionally made during their first (unaware) visit.

With its title meaning Today-Yesterday-Tomorrow, yes the film can easily be said to be inspired from the BACK TO THE FUTURE Series in terms of conceptualization, also having a scientist-cum-mechanic experimenting with machines in his own workshop, quite similar to the character of Dr. Emmett Brown. But the fact does not allow you to take away any credit from its writer-director R. Ravikumar, who amazingly delivers an extremely well-written, engaging and entertaining film in his debut attempt, that can easily be rated as probably ‘The Best Indian Film’ ever made on the subject reaching out to the common man.

Beginning from the future in 2065, it introduces us to a scientist who has discovered a time machine (then) and now is displaying or proving its worth sending a puppy 50 years back to the year 2015 in front of his superior authorities. The machine successfully travels back in time to 2015 but unfortunately fails to return due to some technical snags in its formation left unattended.

In 2015, the time machine is found by three men together after their road mishap. A struggling unemployed young boy, his fake astrologer friend and a middle aged scientist-cum-engineer running a local mechanic shop. Post the engineer accidently gets into a comma; both the young boy and his friend begin using the machine for their mutual benefits opening a new business of finding people’s lost valuables. But meddling into the old unknown timelines of their clients, they unintentionally stop some crucial events from happening in the past that eventually affect their own present life in a dreadful manner. And now they have to go back in time to correct it all as it was scheduled to happen in the present.

Revealing its few downers, the film takes its own time to begin the actual game (appx. 30-35 minutes) building a solid premise. But its only later that you come to know that everything shown in its initial half an hour had something to do with its story progression coming ahead interlinked beautifully. Secondly, though the songs are good (especially the theme music) but they are as usual included as an avoidable insertion, thankfully getting a big support from the romantic angle skillfully woven into the time-travel theme that takes the story forward in a highly likeable manner.

Despite a minimal use of computer graphics, the film gets a collective enhancement from its technical, cinematography, background music and performance department. Yet, INDRU NETRU NAALAI entirely remains a director’s film from start to finish based on a cleverly written script (by the director only) taking the logic along.

No doubt, it might not appear to be any lavishly produced film as normally expected from such kind of science fictions. But its director, art designer, cinematographer and actors never let you feel any budget constraint throughout the skillful portrayal, keeping the spirits high till the exciting climax. The film sucks you in post the initial 30 minutes and then you don’t feel like going for any kind of break at all till it reaches the finale with an even better second half full of many unexpected twists.

Having said that the most appreciable feature of INDRU NETRU NAALAI remains that despite being a time travel fantasy thriller (which always becomes a bit complex with the conflicting time lines and interconnecting storylines moving into each other), the film moves so simply and smoothly that you never feel like anywhere lost in the repeated scenes portrayed from a different perspective.

Moreover, in its simplistic explanations of all the travels back in time one also finds many short funny sequences coming at regular intervals, like the one where Kaunakaran mischievously hits a small kid on his head (travelling decades back) revealing that he is his strict Math teacher living his early childhood. Besides, though not completely flawless, the film does score well in the way R. Ravikumar decides to end it too giving a proper justification for the Time Machine returning back to the future in 2065.

Summing up, it’s really disheartening to know that a movie which is such a delight to watch and is probably the Best Indian film till date made in this particular genre is not really given its deserving due. A Time Travel film always depends upon its written content or script much more than big stars, amazing VFX or grand looks on the screen. And INDRU NETRU NAAHAL has certainly got this major merit in its kitty turning it into a not to be missed film by all means.

Yes, it might not be a picture perfect film as the similar projects made in the west, missing that continuous flow of energy in its initial moments. Yet it still remains the only Indian film that comes much closer to the excitement and entertainment seen in the famous BACK TO THE FUTURE project including its worthy sequels. And that is the reason I would like to include INDRU NETRU NAAHAL in the ‘Must Watch Movies List’ at BTC too supporting our Indian regional language cinema and its lesser known gems.

Rating : Movies To See Before You Die (Adventure)

Written and Directed by: R. Ravikumar
Produced by: C. V. Kumar and K. E. Gnanavel Raja
Starring: Vishnu Vishal, Mia George, Karunakaran, T. M. Karthik, Jayaprakash, Ravi Shankar and more.
Music: Hiphop Tamizha / Lyrics: Hiphop Tamizha, Vivek & Muthamil.

Tags : INDRU NETRU NAALAI (Tamil/2015) Film Review by Bobby Sing, INDRU NETRU NAALAI Tamil Time Travel Film, Indian film on Time Travel, The Best Time Travel films in Indian Cinema, The must watch time travel films made in Regional Cinema, Time Travel theme at its best in Indian cinema, Indian films close to Back To The Future Series.
06 Jan 2017 / Comment ( 2 )
Thank you Bobby for this interesting movie review and include it in an august list of movies one must watch before you die. It indeed sounds a worthy inclusion in the list. It is really sad that despite being an honest multilingual sub continent we seldom do anything for the lesser known languages, especially Malayalam. Telugu and Tamil movies do manage a better mileage due to the commercial packaging of their movies, but Malayalam has always given some exceptional movies which remain unknown to other viewers. Keep up the good work my Friend, in talking about these movies which no one else does.
Bobby Sing
The pleasure is really mine Dharmakirthi, and I really feel great writing about our own Indian films which sadly are not considered worth watching by even the generation that is busy praising World Cinema seen with the English Subtitles only. May be post Bahubali the scenario changes but I am not hoping any drastic change to be there to be very honest. Anyway, would love to continue with my work writing about the regional language gems that are certainly far far ahead than the more famous Hindi cinema. So do keep visiting and writing in. Cheers!
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