During the promotions of the film Naradan, Aashiq Abu had said that they are not explicitly targetting a person or any news organizations through this film. Even though the film critiques sensationalized journalism, one can clearly sense that they are targetting Arnab Goswami and the kind of loud journalism that others followed, seeing his success. In its initial bits, the movie has the ability to portray the competition in the media world. But in the second half, the film also becomes loud and assertive like its main character. And thus, it feels like a thriller that lacked a punch.
Chandraprakash, aka CP, is our central character. He was working in a prominent Malayalam news channel named News Malayalam. The competitive world of News Channels was not so kind to him, and he was constantly under pressure to increase the viewership. How CP shifts the gears in his journalism and becomes a brand when he is allowed to lead a news channel on his own is what Naradan is showing us.
If you are completely ignorant about the news world, the kind that thinks watching news and keeping track of political developments is uncool, then the events in Naradan will feel interesting to you. But suppose you have followed stories like the Kunal Kamra heckling issue and similar other stuff. In that case, you will know that many of the events in the movie are taken from actual incidents. I am not saying real events shouldn’t be used in films. But there should be a creatively satisfying way of showing it to the viewer. The politics of cinema is something that comes as a part of it. But Naradan looks like a film that first fixed its politics and then tried to build a story around it.
The unpleasant and dissatisfied CP is safe in the hands of Tovino Thomas. He will keep you guessing in those portions. But soon after the transformation happens, there is a bit of stiffness in him. Some flack should be given to the writing in that part for making the movie sound like a satire. His dialogue delivery as CP 2.0 doesn’t have the same animosity we feel in his eyes and body language. Sharafudheen plays the role of that not-so-ambitious and ethical journalist, and he was pretty good at it. Anna Ben showed confidence in being Shaakira Muhammed. Renji Panicker tries his best to control the Bharath Chandran IPS in him. Joy Mathew, Rajesh Madhavan, Vijayaraghavan, Kunchan, Jaffer Idukki, etc., are the other prominent names in the film.
The lack of unnecessary drama in the treatment given to the film by Aashiq Abu and the real feel you get in the first half somewhere gives you an impression that this film will eventually become a deep dive into the world of current journalism. But there is a bit of a caricature and satiric nature to the script written by Unni R in the second half. In a satire, I can imagine CP blatantly endorsing moral policing and talking against sexual relationships before marriage. But here, the pitch change is so jarring, and the movie feels like a mockery rather than a critique. Even when the film shifts to a courtroom drama setup, it doesn’t become totally gripping. Jaffer Zadique’s cinematography plays with colors to set the mood of each moment. The background score was impressive.
Naradan is a pertinent film for sure as it deals with the parallel trials run by media houses these days. But when you use cinematic language to narrate something, it has to be compelling too. Naradan, directed by Aashiq Abu and written by Unni R, is short on surprises.
Naradan is a pertinent film for sure as it deals with the parallel trials run by media houses these days. But when you use cinematic language to narrate something, it has to be compelling too.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended