Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi movie cast: Vishwak Sen, Sushanth Reddy, Abhinav Gomatam, Venkatesh Kakumanu, Anisha Ambrose
Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi movie director: Tharun Bhascker Dhaassyam
Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi movie rating: 3 stars
Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi? (What happened to this city?), the question made popular by the anti-smoking public service announcements across the country’s cinema hall is the title of director Tharun Bhascker Dhaassyam’s new buddy comedy. The rhetorical-question finds mention just once in the film, while it remains in the spirit of the story through its entire runtime. Director-writer Tharun keeps taking us back to the question ‘what happened to this city?’, while he ponders over the usual human tendency to make unhealthy life choices for ‘secured life.’
Like all coming-of-age films, Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi also constantly negotiates between who you are and who you are not. The director has taken all the staples of this genre and has made a moving film about friendship, overcoming one’s inner demons and why its imperative not to compromise on our dreams for the society. These are the subjects which have been already touched upon thousands of times by Indian filmmakers. But, Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi still strikes home, thanks to its enduring fish-out-of-water performances by the main star cast (Abhinav Gomatam, Sai Sushanth Reddy, Venkatesh Kakumanu and Vishwak Sen).
Karthik (Sai Sushanth Reddy), Vivek (Vishwak Sen), Kaushik (Abhinav Gomatam) and Upender (Venkatesh Kakumanu) are thick friends, whose lives are thrown in various directions after a car crash. Four years later, Karthik is doing well for himself and is on the verge of hitting a jackpot. Karthik’s boss makes him an offer he can’t refuse. The boss asks him to take his daughter as his wife and the assets, business headaches that come with her. He agrees and goes out with his three other friends to celebrate. He gets hammered, literally in the ensuing bar fight, when he wakes up he finds himself abandoned at a beach in Goa. There is more to why his friends decided to take an unannounced trip to Goa with him, which is revealed in one of those moments of truth.
The film made up of newcomers, barring a few cameos, makes Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi smell like a freshly brewed coffee even as it is served in a very familiar cup. The originality of the director lies in his ability to connect with the younger audience with the lines that sounds so spontaneous and natural.
All four leading actors standout but it was the acting of Abhinav Gomatam that kept me in splits almost every time he appeared on the screen. His primary job in the film is to support Karthik and Upendra’s consistent efforts to stop Vivek from killing himself or others. The woman characters are mostly used to either turn Vivek into a self-pitying, arrogant bully or inspire him to write a romantic short-film. Anisha Ambrose and Simran Choudhary appear and slowly fades into the background allowing the boys to run riot.
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One of the most important reasons why this film works is composer Vivek Sagar, who also worked with Tharun in Pelli Choopulu. He elevates each scene to another level with his background score. Cinematographer Niketh Bommi provides a pleasant cinematic feeling with his visuals especially when the story moves to Goa.
Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi makes an effort to be another reminder that ‘life’s too short to live someone else’s dream.’ Along with this advice, Tharun also embeds ‘don’t drink and drive’ message in almost every other scene in the film. I counted Karthik alone speaking this statutory warning at least two times.