After making an impressive tribute to the father of Malayalam film industry, director Kamal once again goes after the back story of the artist world with his new movie Nadan. This time the attempt is to relive the glorious days of stage drama. I doubt Kamal’s success in making people think about a new beginning for drama, but he was very much successful in creating a central protagonist with depth and true emotions. With Jayaram performing exceedingly well, Nadan on the whole succeeds in pleasing its viewer.
Devadas runs a professional drama troop Sargavedi. In the present day where drama has lost its old charm in front of mimicry and musical nights, Devadas is finding it difficult to manage Sargavedi and its dependent artists. Movie navigates through the legacy of Devadas and also through that phase where he lost a lot through his attempts to empower drama.
As I said, the movie succeeds in creating characters with depth and also recreates those old days where drama had that edge. The influence of drama in public, the kind of acceptance it got etc are conveyed nicely. The occasional inclusion of old hit drama songs increases the retro beauty. But the solution for the revamp of this art form isn’t clear. And the script has this familiar structure which we see in artist oriented movies where there will be always a conflict which the spoon fed audience will find hard to cope with.
The main attraction of the movie is definitely the performance of Jayaram. He carries the character really well and in those sequences towards the climax where Kamal conveys the addiction of the character for drama, it’s his performance that touches us. Sajitha Madathil was good in her character. KPAC Lalitha has done a good job in an opportunity where she got to play the role of a KPAC artist. I wasn’t that impressed with Remya Nambeesan’s performance as it didn’t meet the standard we expect for the pivotal “Jwalamukhi”. Hareesh Peradi repeats his Left Right Left style and it wasn’t that bad as the character here also demanded similar fire. Joy Mathew, Sasi Kalinga, P Balachandran, Sunil Sukhada, Jayaraj Warrier, Mukundan, Malavika and many others are there in the star cast who did a good job.
In the making, Kamal handles it carefully without making it too dark. But the similarity with Celluloid in treatment is definitely visible. The script manages to include all the phases of the drama industry in its back and forth narrative. Some portions repeat the usual formula. Dialogs are good. Nice frames from Madhu Neelakandan. Retro tracks from Ouseppachan are really nice. The art section was good in closed locations. But in the external shots that had various time zones there was lack of attention.
Overall, Nadan belongs to Jayaram. If his performance was not there, Nadan would have easily become a forgettable drama. My rating for Kamal’s Nadan is 3.5/5. A bit below “Celluloid”.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended