'Nene Naa', produced by Raj Shekar Varma and directed by Caarthick Raju, was released in theatres today (August 25). Here is our review of the horror thriller.
A foreigner visiting a forest somewhere in Telangana gets killed mysteriously. There are no clues/traces for the police department to help themselves with. Divya (Regina Cassandra), an archeologist, is tasked with helping the investigators understand the geology of the crime scene. When she embarks on learning about the place, she discovers a skeleton pertaining to a woman from the past. The twist is that the woman in question looked exactly like Divya.
What is the relation between Divya and the woman from the past? Who is responsible for a series of killings taking place in the forest? Answers to these questions are found in the second half.
'Nene Naa', which was supposed to be released in Telugu and Tamil in 2021, has got a delayed theatrical release. If the first half is watchable, that's only because of one actor: Vennela Kishore (as a forest ranger), who gets to be to this film what Saptagiri was to 'Prema Katha Chitram'. He is sh*t-scared in the presence of the ghost. Commendably, the talented comedian never lets the influence of Saptagiri come anywhere close to him. He is original through and through, leading the first half as the main protagonist. But for him, this film would have been a walkout in the first half itself.
Vennela Kishore salvages the crappy scenes on display through his performance. He flirts with Divya, who behaves as though she is too dumb to understand that a complete stranger is crossing the line in a workplace-like setting. Had Divya been shown to be enjoying it, we would have forgiven the track assuming that the director intended to portray a platonic relationship. But that's not the case. She is completely oblivious to what she is going through.
The backstory comes in the second half, exposing the film's low-effort nature and outrageously poor production values. A Zamindar family and a conflict involving others forms its crux. The staging is utterly cheap; it is as if the creators released the film without doing post-production. It feels like watching a theatre play minus sincerity.
Jayaprakash has been cast in a negative role, something that doesn't suit his image in Telugu. Barring Regina (whose performance is half-decent at best), VK and Jayaprakash, the rest of the cast are not familiar to the Telugu audience.
The cops seem incapable of stepping out of their police station. They appear too lazy. Even the baddies look too lazy to run. The staging of the murders is laughably basic. There is no emotional turbulence on display.
'Nene Naa' is one of the most boring horror thrillers with a reincarnation angle. The cheapness of the visuals can put even TV serials to shame.