“No means no”. This single word does not require more explanation, says lawyer Bharath Subramaniam (Ajith) in Tamil film, ‘Nerkonda Paarvai,’ the official remake of the critically-acclaimed Hindi film, ‘Pink.’
“It does not matter who it is. She could be your girlfriend, lover or wife, but when she says no, you’ve got to stop,” emphasizes the lawyer with a shock of white hair.
Directed by H Vinoth, this social drama rings loud the message of consent, a relatively new word in Indian society that rides on the saddle of male chauvinism and has been taking women for granted for decades.
‘Nerkonda Paarvai’ speaks out for women with this small word that gives her the power to protect herself. And when a popular hero like Ajith with a large fan following delivers this message, it helps.
Vinoth’s script is well written, retaining entirely the soul of the original and brilliantly executed by a team that scores high on performances. Poignant moments leave you misty eyed; -a father watching his daughter’s personal life laid thread bare as she fights in court, friends holding hands together despite knowing that they stand little chance in a world dominated by men and clout and an aging lawyer’s fight for justice.
‘Nerkonda Paarvai’ is a faithful remake of ‘Pink’ with small changes. While ‘Pink’ opened with an accident that left a young man bleeding severely, ‘Nerkonda Paarvai’ begins with a rock concert. The protagonist Meera Krishnan (Shraddha Srinath) is one of the dancers and after the evening is over, she and her two friends, Famitha Banu (Abhirami Venkatachalam) and Andrea (Andrea Tariang) join a group of young men for dinner. Over a few drinks, trouble brews turning over the lives of the three young women. And, the three ordinary working women find themselves charged with prostitution and murder. They become targets of a bruised male ego and brought into court by the men who have political clout.
‘Nerkonda Paarvai’ rests on the collective gaze of Indian society where a woman is judged always. And that the rules are different for men and women is laid open in a court room.
‘Nerkonda Paarvai’ takes the story of ‘Pink’ a notch higher. Ajith as an aged lawyer with a bi-polar disorder shines in a role that is completely different from earlier films. His acting is subdued and he does not deliver the regular punch lines. However, the makers could not resist the temptation to show his mass image. And, that brings us to the scene where he single-handedly bashes up dozen men. But this interruption does not steer the story away from its track. While Bharath’s past with his wife (Vidya Balan) brought in relief from the tension of court room drama, it got a bit too stretched with a song sequence.
Shraddha Srinath tackles a wide gamut of emotions as Meera Krishnan. She is Meera in every frame, exposing the vulnerability and helplessness of a woman wronged. Srinath is terrific and her scenes are often intense, leaving you misty eyed.
Abhirami Venkatachalam is Famitha, the mother figure of the group. She carries a look of concern and anxiety all the time. Venkatachalam stuns you in the courtroom, when her Famitha eventually caves in to the verbal torment of the opposing lawyer. That was another unforgettable scene. Andrea reprising her role from ‘Pink’ is wonderful.
Surprising everyone on his debut is Rangaraj Pandey. He plays Satyamoorthy, the opposing lawyer with a smug look and a cocky grin. Arjun Chidambaram effectively brought out male chauvinism as Adhik Ravichandran, the man who refused to understand Meera’s “no”.
‘Nerkonda Paarvai’ is also about friendship, right winning over wrong and about empathy for our loved ones.
Even if you have watched ‘Pink’, this remake is still worth a watch.
Don’t miss it!
‘Nerkonda Paarvai’ releases is out now in the UAE.