Hi Nanna review: Nani, Mrunal Thakur shine in this emotional tale

Debutant director Shouryuv’s Hi Nanna, starring Nani, Mrunal Thakur and Kiara Khanna in lead roles with Jayaram, Priyadarshi and Angad Bedi in supporting roles, tells the story of a father and his daughter. Last week, the audience saw a violent and bloody tale, Animal, which delved into a father’s relationship with his son. Compared to that, this week’s offering feels like a salve to the wounded soul. (Also Read: Hi Nanna Twitter reviews: Mrunal Thakur is the soul of Nani-starrer, fans want her to do more Telugu films)

Nani, Mrunal, Kiara in a still from Hi Nanna
Nani, Mrunal, Kiara in a still from Hi Nanna

Hi Nanna story

Viraj (Nani) is a single father and photographer whose life revolves around his six-year-old daughter Mahi (Kiara Khanna), her grandfather (Jayaram) and their dog, Pluto, who’s quite crucial to this tale too. His days go into photographing models and his evenings are spent looking after the home and his daughter as a single dad. She’s curious to know about her mother, but her father brushes over the topic, refusing to tell her the truth. One day, Mahi runs into Yashna (Mrunal Thakur), who also urges Viraj to tell them his story. But the tale that follows is something neither of them expected.

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Hi Nanna review

Shouryuv’s 2-hours-35-minutes-long film isn’t made for the impatient. If you’re looking for a fast paced or conventionally entertaining story filled with fights, overtly dramatic moments, random peppy songs, et al, look elsewhere. But if you can’t pass on an emotional love story that takes its own sweet time setting up its characters and progresses at an unhurried pace because it wants you to get lost in its world – this one’s for you. Sure, you might guess some of the ‘twists’ the film throws your way. But the fact remains that the way Shouryuv unfurls the story makes it an engaging ride.

Nani, Mrunal and Kiara make this film work

The story relies heavily on Nani, Mrunal and Kiara’s performances and the three make you want to root for them. Nani is flawless as Viraj, a single father looking to fight for his daughter against all odds. If you share a loving relationship with your father, it’s hard not to see him in the character. Kiara is adorable and pulls off the role with ease. She even performs well in some of the film’s emotional moments. Mrunal is the heart of this film. She gets to play a complicated character who’s anything but run-of-the-mill and she makes us want to love her even at her worst moments. The dog that played Pluto is plain adorable, Priyadarshi is hilarious.

Beautiful music and cinematography

The film is mostly shot in Mumbai, Coonoor and Goa which lends for some beautiful, romantic frames. Shouryuv makes a stellar debut, he clearly knows what he’s doing. Sanu Varghese’s cinematography is a delight, so is Hesham Abdul Wahab’s music. The songs might not stay with you, in the sense that you want to listen to them over and over again, but they fit in well with the narrative and sometimes, even add to the scenes. The song Odiyamma (with a cameo by Shruti Haasan) is the only one that seems misplaced and unnecessary, dragging on the run-time.

Has its heart in the right place

Hi Nanna might not be Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, as Shouryuv promised. But if you’ve seen romantic dramas like Definitely, Maybe or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or The Notebook, some of the major beats of Hi Nanna will be predictable. While Shouryuv makes these beats his own, it doesn’t negate the fact that Viraj’s backstory is cliche. A revelation is made before the interval, which makes the second half heavier. There’s even some drunk comedy to veer away from the heaviness of it all, which doesn’t work. But the film’s ending more than makes up for it, because it heart is in the right place. And it’s no spoiler to reveal that Viraj, Mahi, Yashna and Pluto end up right where they always belonged!

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First appeared on www.hindustantimes.com

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