Nanban (Eng: Friend) is a 2012 Indian Tamil-language coming-of-age comedy-drama film directed by Shankar. It is a remake of Rajkumar Hirani’s Hindi film 3 Idiots (2009). Nanban features an ensemble cast that includes Vijay, Jiiva, Srikanth, Ileana D’Cruz, Sathyaraj and Sathyan.
Nanban’s soundtrack and background score were composed by Harris Jayaraj and cinematography was handled by Manoj Paramahamsa. The film was produced by Gemini Film Circuit. A lengthy and controversial delay in casting delayed filming by a year. Filming took place for a total of eight months in various locations in Europe and India. The film was released on 12 January 2012 to generally positive reviews. Nanban was also screened at the Melbourne Film Festival.
Wildlife photographer Venkat Ramakrishnan receives a phone call from his collegemate Srivatsan, claiming he knows where Venkat’s long-lost friend Panchavan “Pari” Pariventhan is. Venkat meets up with another friend, Sevarkodi Senthil and rushes to the Ideal Engineering College (IEC) to meet Srivatsan. After talking about his bet with Pari about who can become more successful, Srivatsan reveals that Pari is in Ooty and the three begin their journey.
Over a flashback ten years prior, it is shown that Venkat has come to stay at IEC as his father forced him to pursue engineering. He befriends Senthil, whose family hopes he will bring them out of poverty, and Pari, a carefree student who loves learning. Pari, Senthil and Venkat meet their college director Dr. Virumandi Santhanam a.k.a. Virus, whose Draconian teaching philosophy contrast with Pari’s easygoing one. One day, when Paneer Selvam, a student with a passion for engineering similar to Pari’s, is denied graduation by Virus on grounds of failure to submit his project. Pari tries to fix Pannerselvam’s project, but finds out he is too late after Pannerselvam commits suicide. After Venkat’s and Senthil’s parents confront Pari, the hungry trio gatecrashes a wedding for dinner. Unbeknownst to them, it is the wedding of one of Virus’ daughters, Shweta. They also meet Virus’ other daughter, Ria and her materially obsessive fiancé, Rakesh. The following morning, Virus tells Venkat and Senthil that Pari is a bad influence, causing Senthil to shift rooms to live with Srivatsan. Seeking to teach Senthil a lesson about rote memorization, Pari and Venkat edit obscene words into Srivatsan’s Teachers’ Day speech, but it fails to convince Senthil. Srivatsan learns about the prank and angrily confronts Pari, challenging him to see who’ll be more successful in ten years. After a few days, Pari manipulates Ria into insulting and dumping Rakesh. He learns that Senthil’s father has had a stroke, and drives him on a reluctant Ria’s scooter to the hospital. Senthil arrives and, after overhearing how that timely intervention saved his father’s life, reunites with Venkat and Pari. Ria begins to fall in love with Pari. The next day, they all complete their exams, but Venkat and Senthil are sad to learn they had the two lowest scores. To everyone’s surprise, Pari placed first in the entire university, beating a frustrated Srivatsan.
In the present, Venkat, Senthil and Srivatsan reach Ooty and go to the house where Pari lives. Over there, they are shocked to meet another young man, who identifies himself as the real Pari. Srivatsan reveals that he got the address when his secretary had come to Ooty to make a business deal with a famous scientist/inventor named Kosaksi Pasapugazh. Venkat and Senthil then confront and threaten the “imposter” who, in confessing that he is the real Pari, inadvertently reveals to them that the acquaintance they knew was actually nicknamed “Pappu,” the son of the Pariventhan family’s gardener, who had an immense passion for learning. Pari made Pappu do all of his homework and, after Pari’s father found out, he let the ruse continue, saying he wanted Pappu to have an education and Pari to have a degree. Pari went to London for four years, while Pappu assumed his identity in college, promising to sever ties afterward. Venkat and Senthil leave with Srivatsan for Dhanushkodi, where Pari apparently works at a school.
During their final years of college, Pari and Ria begin a relationship. One night, Pari sneaks into Virus’ house to propose to Ria while Venkat and Senthil drunkenly urinate on Virus’ porch. Virus threatens to rusticate Senthil unless he acts as a witness against Pari. Not wanting to disappoint his family or betray his friend, he jumps out of a window, attempting suicide. Pari, Senthil, and Ria all help him recuperate successfully over the next two months. Afterwards, Senthil secures a job with an engineering firm and Venkat convinces his father to let him work as a wildlife photographer. Virus feels insulted and rigs the final exam paper to fail Senthil, but Ria gives Pari the duplicate key to her father’s of IEC, encouraging him to copy the rigged paper for Senthil.
In the present, Venkat and Senthil suddenly remember Ria, and turn around to reach her wedding in Coimbatore. Venkat sneaks in to reunite with Ria while Senthil poses as a housekeeper to show Rakesh is still a materialistic brat. Although Ria initially refuses to break off the marriage, she is surprised to hear Rakesh screaming about the coat Senthil ruined. Senthil proceeds to fill in as the groom and convinces Ria that she still loves Pari. Ria elopes with the duo and Srivatsan to go to Dhanushkodi.
Back in their final year of college, Pari and Venkat successfully copy the question paper, but Senthil refuses to use it. Virus discovers them and rusticates them in the middle of the night. Ria reveals that Virus’ son, who Virus thought had died from a train accident, had committed suicide because Virus put too much pressure on him to be an engineer. As Pari, Venkat, and Senthil leave the campus in the middle of a thunderstorm, they come across Ria’s now-pregnant sister Shweta as she’s going into labour. Seeing as Shweta can’t reach a hospital because of the rain, the trio apply their knowledge of engineering to build a makeshift venthouse with the other students. Realizing the fault in his ways and how smart Pari is, Virus lets the trio stay for the final exams and gifts Pari a very rare Space Pen.
In the present, Venkat, Senthil, Ria, and Srivatsan reach the school in Dhanushkodi and reunite with Pari. Srivatsan condescendingly insults Pari’s apparent status as a schoolteacher. When Ria asks Pari for his real name, he reveals that he is Kosaksi Pasapugazh, the genius inventor and the person Srivatsan’s company was trying to sign the deal with. Pari calls off the deal and reveals himself to Srivatsan, who is shocked. Pari, Ria, Venkat and Senthil run away laughing while a humiliated Srivatsan chases after them.
Directed by S. Shankar
Written by Rajkumar Hirani & Abhijat Joshi
Dialogue by S. Shankar & Madhan Karky
Produced by Manohar Prasad & Ravi Shankar Prasad
Starring Vijay, Jiiva, Srikanth, Ileana D’Cruz, Sathyaraj, Sathyan
Cinematography Manoj Paramahamsa
Edited by Anthony
Music by Harris Jayaraj
Production Gemini Film Circuit
Release date 12 January 2012 (India)
Running time 160 minutes