The story is being told on a flashback mode by Venkata Ramakrishnan (Srikanth). It all begins with a ragging of Venkata Ramakrishnan (Srikanth) and Sevalkodi Senthil (Jeeva), where they are made to dance with their underwear. Panchavan aka Pappu (Vijay) arrives – not in his usual way where he is welcomed by a great music or background score - in the tale and he too is being targeted by seniors but he escapes through his wit.
Virumandi Sandanam (Sathyaraj) aka Virus, the principal of the college, believes in achieving success through speed and his notion on the education gets shaky after he encounters Panchavan, whose mantra is to follow excellence, not success, as success will come itself with excellence. The latter gains upper hand in their every face off and it also makes Sandanam to hate him more and more.
Panchavan meets Ria (Ileana D'Cruz), the daughter of Virumandi, accidentally and it ends in an amusing way. Their love blossoms after he proves that her beau is not fit for her and her selection is wrong. At this juncture, differences between Panchavan and Sandanam reach the maximum limit but the principal turn helpless, as the former is the topper in the college. The remaining part of the story is - whose philosophy on success is right.
Shankar has made minor changes to the story. In fact, he has not tried to modify too many things, as it could be a sin to play with such a wonderful subject. The only place where we can see him is in the songs and its picturisation. The filmmaker has made the audience to sit for 3.10 hours on their seats without bothering them to look at their watch. From the word start, the tale keeps you engaged till the end through humour, wit and all the entertaining ingredients.
Vijay, like Aamir Khan in 3 Idiots, looks young and energetic. His body language and acting are treat to watch. His friends Srikanth and Jeeva are as good as him. The duo looks replicas of Madhavan and Sharman Joshi! The trio brings a good amount of laughter throughout the movie. Ileana looks gorgeous and whenever she appears, the actress makes the audience to watch her without blinking their eyes. Sathyaraj is excellent and he is the perfect choice for the character. Sathyan shines in each and every frame and he too fits the bill. The rest of the characters including SJ Surya, who has done cameo, have played their part well. Other aspects like dialogues by Shankar and Madhan Karky are hilarious, Manoj Paramahamsa's cinematography is illuminating and Harris Jayaraj's music is wonderful.
One can hardly find out flaws in Nanban because the story does not give you a minute time to find the errors that divert your attention. When the movies are limited to two-hour plus, Nanban amazingly takes you on a long-journey without getting noticed. The film not only entertains but sends out a strong message to the current generation.
Verdict: All is well. It is a Shankar's Sankrathi feast for the audience! Do not hesitate to watch Nanban even if you have seen 3 Idiots.
Cast: Vijay, Srikanth, Jeeva, Ileana, Sathyaraj, Sathyan and others.
Music Director: Harris Jayaraj
Cinematography: Manoj Paramahamsa
Producer: Gemini Film Circuit
Released on: Jan 12