With the possible exception of intros to fullhyd.com movie reviews, there aren't many things more boring than an experimental comedy made on Mahesh Babu. Look at Nijam
Some might argue that those were neither experimental nor comic, but others have seen those to know better. Naani stands on the brink of becoming one of those, and what eventually keeps it on the brink is a vague craziness that oozes unflappably in here.
This craziness starts at the very beginning. They show a dazed Raghuvaran introducing us to his invention - a two-tailed robotic dog. Crazy? That's insane! Nowhere else has Raghuvaran hammed this much!
He's not the only one who's going crazy with overacting. Naani's mom (Devyani) is also behaving like she's been possessed by an old witch on PMS. And Naani (Ashok - child artist) is at the receiving end of her temper. He's only a kid. How is he supposed to handle such blatant hamming? So he decides to die.
But as luck would have it he's saved by Raghuvaran. With the help of science, Raghuvaran does something impossible. Actually, not science, plain imitation - but 'science' sounds mature. Any connection to the classic by Tom Hanks is plainly coincidental, if you can find some idiot to believe that. So Naani is overnight transformed into a 28-year-old man.
Trapped in the body of a 28-year-old, the 8-year-old Naani does what any self-respecting 8-year-old would do - lust after the voluptuous Amisha Patel. Okay, not every 8-year-old would prefer Amisha to trump cards full of WWE divas. But we must remember that not every 8-year-old has the body of Mahesh Babu.
Thus starts the vulnerable love story between Naani and Priya (Amisha). Every time these guys breakout into a song, we realize how vulnerable our stomachs are. Initially, Naani is hesitant about the strong passes that Priya is making at him. But later somehow he forgets all that. Don't blame him. Even Rahman would forget everything if he heard those
Somewhere in this cocky humor, Naani happens to realize his mother's true love for him. Moreover he can match her ham for ham in acting now. So he goes back to the mad scientist who converts him back to the 8-year-old he deserves to be. But chaos strikes - even the 8-year-old starts hamming now! Well, actually, the 8-year-old becomes the 28-year-old after 6pm everyday.
Naani starts living a dual life. During the day, he's the proper 8-year-old going to school etc., and during the night he has to ride the horse. Now, this riding horse business starts soon after he gets married to Amisha. Did we tell you that he gets married to her? We just did.
Anyway, Amisha always behaves like a kid. And as any girl's fantasy is of ending up with a mature responsible man, she has one, too. So she marries Naani. Even Naani is only but a man. Er, boy. Whatever. The way certain parts of Amisha's body have grown, even an 80-year-old corpse would want to marry her. We were talking about her hair and nails there. Promise.
Since Naani does a lot of horse riding, he ends up becoming a dad. Yup. He has a son, and that's when he actually realizes what mother love is all about. Kota Sreenivas Rao, in a brilliant cameo, explains to Naani what motherhood is all about.
So there. That's Naani for you. Of course there are some completely avoidable characters like Bramhanandam, Nasr and Ravi Babu, but yup. It ends this way - 8 by day, 28 by night.
There aren't many positives in this juvenile affair except a couple of forced laughs due to the situations Naani gets into. And a beautiful song on mother sentiment. Also, the use of various shades of lighting has been brilliant in the movie.
But Naani shows that the director wanted all these otherwise good actors to behave weirdly for a purpose that obviously does not show up. Or to be precise, show up for any good
Mahesh remains the only sane actor in the flick - in parts, that is. Everything else is despairingly fake. The comedy might actually interest many kids. But it isn't completely suitable for family audiences, what some really crass bedroom humor.
Overall, Naani has the half-baked feel of a shabby music video. The tale is definitely told, but it lacks a lot of character.