Nadikar Review | A Showbiz Critique That Fumbles in the Second Half

We all have heard stories about the star tantrums on film sets, and even established filmmakers have talked about the delusional stars who ruin their own careers by overestimating their star value. The new Tovino Thomas starrer Nadikar is quite an honest attempt to expose this delusional phase of these stars. While the critiquing of that angle of the industry works really well along with the humor, the emotional bits in the movie that are supposed to show us the character’s evolution don’t really land well. In totality, Nadikar is an underwhelming entertainer that needed a tighter script.

David Padikkal is a young superstar in Malayalam cinema. His first three films were super hits, including one industry hit. But the stardom made him arrogant, and he wasn’t even ready to recognize that, as an actor, he has flaws and limitations. At one point, when a dispute with a veteran filmmaker put David’s career in a difficult space, his manager suggested the idea of hiring an acting coach. How that decision changes the perspective of David towards his profession is what we see in the film.

A major chunk of the first half of this film is dedicated to the arrogant phase of David Padikkal. He is not aware or is reluctant to admit his acting limitations, and there are numerous sequences in the film that will remind you of the various issues caused by various actors. Jean-Paul Lal is not a man of heavy melodrama, and hence, we have a pretty realistic portrayal of that brash segment of David’s career. The unabashed critiquing actually helps the movie to make the viewer anticipate something in the second half of the film. But sadly, even though the idea is quite interesting there is a lack of emotional tidiness. When finally David hugs his acting coach and the coach tells him you have become the person I wanted you to be, we don’t really get to feel that transition in the screenplay.

Even though it is a glossy character from the outside, David Padikkal is somewhat of a tough one to crack on screen, as the arrogant part for a larger part of the runtime can make the performance look gimmicky after a point. In the emotional bits of the movie, I felt that Tovino did a good job of elevating the script, which was too hasty in setting up the transition. Soubin Shahir, as the acting coach, works mostly because of the odd casting choice. Even though Soubin is a proven actor, our stereotypical mind wouldn’t imagine someone of his stature as an acting coach. So, more than the performance, I think it was the casting choice that made an impact there. Other than these two, everyone else in the film, like Balu Varghese, Suresh Krishna, Bhavana, and Chandu Salimkumar, doesn’t have anything that feels extremely challenging.

Written by Suvin S. Somasekharan, who previously wrote Joju George starrer Star, Nadikar has a genuine intent to explore the backend of showbiz. In fact, there is a college campus sequence in the film that really shows how peripheral the star worshipping is. When they ended the film’s first half with David surrendering to the idea of reinventing his craft, I was sort of expecting Jean Paul Lal to give us an account of how the process of getting into a character happens. But the script’s approach towards that part of the story does not happen with the same fluency with which it criticized the lifestyle and indisciplined work ethics of the stars. Thus, when the last act of the movie becomes a largely theatrical self-discovery journey of the hero, we don’t really feel that empathy towards that character.

Nadikar is an earnest endeavor that wishes to show the BTS of the industry. But the area that demanded the most attention was the process of an actor. But in that area, the writing is unable to make a deep dive in order to make us look at things from the perspective of the character/ actor. If it had given more time to show us the evolution of David Padikkal from a star to an actor, the movie would have had a better impact.

Final Thoughts

If it had given more time to show us the evolution of David Padikkal from a star to an actor, the movie would have had a better impact.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.