November story review

Tamannaah Bhatia is seen in a still from “November Story.” (YouTube screenshot)

A famous crime writer, Ganesan (G.M. Kumar) is suffering from Alzheimer’s, and his daughter, Anuradha (Tamannaah Bhatia), is told by him to complete his last novel, in case time fails him. They have an old house that Anuradha wants to sell so that she can generate funds for his treatment, but Ganesan is adamant on not doing so.

Anuradha, an ethical hacker, is even ready to procure a fake death certificate of her father to achieve a legal ability to sell the house. Meanwhile, she is also helping the cops in cracking who has hacked into their FIRs of years. That is the second track.

The third track comprises three medical students from Hyderabad, who have raped and killed a female colleague. After Ganesan goes missing and is found by Anuradha in their old house (on an important day, Nov. 16) with an unknown woman lying dead besides him in a pool of blood, these three tracks come together.

A retired coroner Yesu (Pasupathy M.) steps in, and thereby lies a tale too—for the film opens with a train mishap after which a young little girl is seen weeping. And then there is the track of a young boy, brought up by a Catholic sister, who grows up and qualifies as a surgeon, only to be unable to conduct surgeries as his hands have a tremor…

“November Story” is a murder mystery that connects all these links into a gripping whodunit that, at times, seems somewhat far-fetched, but works, given the way the film is scripted and directed by Indhra Subramanian. For example, there is also the young girl with mental disability that Anuradha encounters by chance in the suburban train…she, too, is connected somewhere: Coincidences, too, rank high in the plot!

There is more than a little gore, lots of blood, and a hard-headed cop, Sudalai (Aruldass). So who was the woman, why was she killed, who murdered her and injured her body after she was dead?

Anuradha’s sole aim after she discovers the body next to her father is to protect him, convinced that he would do no such thing. But she almost fails, as the cops begin to have him on their scanner, helped by the coroner’s observations. And Ganesan’s delusions and memory lapses have both become alarming, like his attacking the maid with a knife or his “conversations” with a character from his last novel to come.

Technically brilliant (especially in the cinematography by Vidhu Ayyanna), the film is intense and gritty, while maintaining the emotional ethos of the father and daughter. Towards the climax, however, the police and their investigations almost turn incidental as Anuradha herself decides to tackle the dreaded villain herself, in an overstretched, conventionally ‘filmi’ and bloody climax.

Tamannaah Bhatia, getting a meaty role, sinks all her creative teeth into it and aces it to perfection, especially in her sequences with her old father. Pasupathy M. as Yesu moves from one shade to another with almost surgical precision as the coroner with a grievance. His scenes with his daughter Mathi (Namita Krishnamurthy) also see him in excellent form.

G.M. Kumar as Ganesan cuts a cute and sometimes pitiable figure with perfect body language and expressions. Vivek Prasanna and Aruldass as, respectively, Tamannaah’s associate and the main cop are very effective, especially the latter. And Namita Krishnamurthi as Mathi is excellent.

The series is decidedly worth a watch despite its pedestrian (considering the general high standard throughout) end.

Rating: ***

Disney + Hotstar presents Vikatan Televistas’ ‘November Story’

Produced by: B. Srinivasan & Radhika Srinivasan

Directed and written by: Indhra Subramanian

Music: Saran Raghavan

Starring: Tamannaah, Pasupathy M., G. M. Kumar, Vivek Prasanna, Aruldass, Myna Nandhini, Namita Krishnamurthy, Johnny, Tharani Suresh Kumar, Arshath Feras, K. Pooranesh, Pujitha Devaraju, Nishanth Naidu, Janaki Suresh, Supergood Subramani & others

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