There are two mysteries in the official Tamil remake of the South Korean movie Blind: how does a sightless woman get the better of a sexual pervert, and how does a 111-minute film expand into a 146-minute reworking?
A flabby remake of a lean, tense thriller, Netrikann works best when it regurgitates its source material. If you ignore the background songs – totally unnecessary in a plot driven by surprise and suspense – and a redundant back story to the villain that humanises him, the movie does what it is meant to do.
The original film’s premise was clever and entertaining enough to yield two previous remakes, in Japanese and Chinese. A Hindi version is in the works too, starring Sonam Kapoor.
Netrikann sees Nayanthara as Durga, a former Central Bureau of Investigation officer who loses her vision after a terrible lapse of judgement. Now living alone with a sight dog for company, Durga yearns to get back to work and redeem herself. The opportunity arrives in the form of a hit-and-run accident involving her and the stalker James (Ajmal Ameer).
Durga’s testimony isn’t taken seriously until she reveals her gift for sightless observation. Aided by food delivery worker Gautham (Sacchin Nachiappan), Durga nudges bumbling police officer Manikandan (played by Manikandan) towards the light.
The most compelling moments, including a standoff between Durga and James that owes a heavy debt to the Hollywood classic Wait Until Dark, have been replicated from the South Korean movie. Even the loopholes in the original production have survived the journey.
The screenplay credit given to director Milind Rau is presumably for the scenes that should never have made it to the screen. Nayanthara, Manikandan and Sacchin Nachiappan turn out efficient performances as an unlikely trio of crime fighters. Ajmal Ameer hams far too much to be taken seriously as Durga’s worst nightmare.
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