Neruppu Da is centred on five aspiring firefighters — Guru (Vikram Prabhu) and his friends played by Varun, Vincent Rajkumar and Dinesh. The film begins with an ode to firefighters. Neruppu Da, however, has less to do with firefighting, as the premise is used to take the story forward.
Neruppu Da Cast: Vikram Prabhu, Nikki Galrani, Varun, Rajendran and Madhusudhan Rao
Neruppu Da Director: B Ashok Kumar
We’re introduced to Guru’s world after the customary hero introduction song. Guru is a caring son to a widowed father (Ponvannan), who’s a sanitary worker. In a short flashback, we learn about Guru’s friends and why they’re ‘The Expendables’. He’s a simple man, who’s passionate about saving people — that we’re constantly reminded even in the climax.
In his small world, there exists a heroine too. When Guru meets Vasumathi (Nikki Galrani), she extinguishes a fire. He’s smitten by her innovative effort to put out the fire. Or perhaps it’s just a spark! Of course, the scene cannot end without a song, can it? But let’s appreciate the director for avoiding an unnecessary romantic track — as Vasumathi instantly expresses her love for Guru, who, on the other hand, was more curious about finding out her name. We wonder how this scene was on paper. It also drives home the point that Neruppu Da is a ‘commercial’ film. And that you just have to stop worrying about consistencies/inconsistencies, and the way the heroines are written in these ‘entertainers’.
Anyway, Guru takes the blame for a crime he never committed in the first place. The crime, which is at the heart of Neruppu Da, itself looks silly. Guru’s dream of becoming a firefighter is quashed (remember Kireedam?) when ‘Pulianthope’ Ravi (Madhusudhana Rao), a bigshot gangster, learns about his friend Sadha’s murder. It’s rather surprising to see a consistent first half in a rather lazily written whodunnit.
Take the scene where Guru’s supposed plan to kidnap Pulianthope Ravi goes wrong. When the revelation happens in the form of a short flashback, we see a signboard saying ‘Sudugadu sellum vazhi’ (Way to the graveyard). Later in that scene, we get a lovely twist, which has to do something with cotton, when Ravi asks his kidnappers to free him. It’s a hilarious stretch! Barring the needless romantic scenes followed by Sean Roldan’s disappointing songs, and Rajendran’s is-this-even-funny track, Neruppu Da gives us the feeling of a passable thriller at first.
But debutant Ashok Kumar isn’t happy with just a thriller. Suddenly, Neruppu Da throws at us a whodunnit angle. Which is why we could sense someone exhaling loudly in the second half. And the big climax gimmickry is the much-needed comical relief.
In an early scene, Guru and friends leave hurriedly, thinking that a fire broke out at a nearby place. Midway, they’re shocked to find out something. As they say, there’s no smoke without Neruppu Da. Here, there’s only smoke.