STORY: A young couple gets involved in an accident in the middle of nowhere. When they go out looking for help, they stumble across an old cemetery. They somehow reach home and things seem normal, except when they look into the mirror, they see someone else.
REVIEW: Supernatural thrillers tend to follow a similar pattern. The protagonists seem normal, but find themselves in unusually spooky circumstances and everything around them seems to be haunted. In Ninu Veedani Needanu Nene ( NVNN), director Caarthik Raju brings in several quirks and twists to keep the audience interested but often flirts with a dangerous line between inventive and predictable. He does succeed, but not always.
NVNN opens in 2035 (A detail that's irrelevant to the film) and we see a veteran psychiatrist ( Murali Sharma ) who helps a young group of students with their thesis on supernatural elements. He tells them about a case that was specially close to him, the story of Rishi ( Sundeep Kishan ) and Dia ( Anya Singh ), a young married couple who go on a road trip and get involved in a major accident. They find themselves in a deserted area and walk towards a cemetery. They somehow manage to get home (We still don't know how) and things seem to be normal again, but when they look in the mirror, they see someone else. Whenever Rishi and Dia look at their reflection in a mirror, they see Arjun ( Vennela Kishore ) and Madhavi (Pragathi) instead. How they crack this mystery and become normal again forms the crux of the story.
Despite a few bizarre situations, the first hour absorbing. There are constant twists and turns and you relate to the characters' shock, fear and agony. The humour is brilliant and the horror element is not overdone. Posani, in particular, is hilarious as the cop who discovers there's a ghost living inside the protagonist's character. There are some subtle changes to the plot midway, which is cleverly done and changes the way you watch the film.
Once you get past the subtle twists and turns, the director seems to run of ideas. The film completely loses its momentum in the second half and the protagonist's quest for answers is hardly convincing. The climax is even worse. What starts out as a quirky supernatural tale suddenly turns into a melodramatic sobfest, full of sermons. Even science can't figure out human emotions, is the message sent across — but it's hardly the emotion you're looking for from the film.
Sandeep Kishan's character is overbearing, and is often projected as the guy who protects his wife at all times. "Don't worry, I'm there," he repeatedly keeps telling her, and yet, we hardly get to see her side of the story, and her emotions, even though she's pretty much going through the same thing. Strange. However, the film is lifted by the brilliance of Murali Sharma, Posani Murali Krishna and Vennela Kishore — all of whom deliver stellar performances. Vennela Kishore is more than just a funny guy and he shows that yet again, and looks convincing in every frame he's in.
NVNN begins with a lot of promise and has a few bright moments, but it loses steam as it goes along and turns into a rather dull show. There are some entertaining moments, but you can't help but wonder, what it could've been and what is has turned out to be.