Nadodi Kanavu is about a young man who had come to a village as a refugee falls in love with the daughter of the headman, whom the locals consider as a God. Will their romance be accepted?
Until its first half, Nadodi Kanavu resembles a regular rural romance. There is the poor and earnest hero (Mahendran, as Marudhu); his loving mom (Sujatha); the righteous headman (K Rajendran, as Viduthalai), whom the villagers look up to; his impish daughter (Subraja, as Ponni), who woos Marudhu and makes him reciprocate her love. We get the staples of the village movie – the traditions, the customs, wide angle shots of the countryside (Jiju Sunny’s desaturated visuals indicate potential) and so on. And outside of the romance, very little happens. It is only in the second half, when the lovers decide to elope that the actual plot kicks in.
This involves caste discrimination and a backstory about how Viduthalai came to be the leader of this group of people. There are a couple of revelations and a Catch 22 situation that seem interesting on paper, but they have not been translated on to the screen well. The character of Viduthalai is quite refreshing – he is a genuine do-gooder and has only the interests of his people in his heart. But what let’s down the film is the TV serial-like treatment. Every moment is stretched beyond its ideal duration that makes it a slog for the most parts. Also, even though the film talks about equality and ending caste discrimination, which is admirable as far as intentions go, the decision that the villagers take once they come to know of the Marudhu-Ponni romance only seems to reiterate that people will clan up and will not readily accept an outsider – even if they are underprivileged. Which is exactly what the film tries to speak against!