It’s another interpretation from director Shaji N Karun on the familiar topic of the personal life of artists. Swapaanam discusses the story of an artist whose feelings never got recognition from the world around him. Unlike many films where only one person has to face the society’s ideology, here we have both protagonists suffering the same pain. The backdrop of art surely enhances the inherent beauty of the story. The biggest annoyance I could feel in this movie was in the casting and that excludes Jayaram and Siddique whom I believe were brilliant on screen.
It is actually the life journey of a Chenda artist Unni, who has some psychological issues. The gifted talent in him takes him to newer levels of success and that ignites an ego complex in his brother’s mind. He got married to a woman who hated Chenda as she believes that her father’s love to this art form has caused her to lose many things in life. Unni, who was in search for a true soul mate finally found one in Nalini who was the sister of an astrologer Narayanan Namboodiri. The obvious problems the society has towards this relationship and how it effects the further life of our love birds is the soul of the movie.
The main attraction of the story in my view was that it had the scope to portray an intense relationship. Apart from the fact that the leading lady was struggling to get her acting part correctly Shaji N Karun has structured the movie in a way where you won’t feel any dullness. A few jugalbandis are there in the film, which utilizes Jayaram in many levels. The romance got a good introduction with the help of that unconventional mix of Chenda and Mohiniyattam. The sad phase through which our lead pair had to survive was captured effectively by including life episodes that shows us how one compromised a lot and the other could not.
Shaji N Karun whose works are known for visualizing things uniquely has once again done a great job. The way he extracted the best of Jayaram and Siddique is something that really boosted the film. Screenplay maintains a slow tempo. The bonding between the characters were shown mostly through flashback sequences and it has kept the movie’s romance side alive rather than making the second half look like a survival story. The casting at many levels was not so pleasing. Pairing of Sharath and Lakshmi Gopalaswamy looked awkward. In addition, many of the supporting actors caused some inconvenience in enjoyment. Cinematography was good. Edits at times showed hiccups. Music was good and the BGM’s were fitting. Make up was excellent.
Jayaram has certainly done a great acting display with Swapaanam. In a way, it is a very intriguing extension of his character in Nadan. The pain here is higher and the actor has modified his level to meet the expectations. Sadly, our female lead Odissi dancer Kadambari failed to succeed as Nalini. She was good with her dancing skills but when it came to acting the pain was slightly missing and the face that emotes too much for everything was very disharmonious with what the dubbing artist was trying to express. Siddique’s character portrayal was something stunning. The way he transformed in to this peculiar character that speaks and acts differently was a great pleasure to watch. The madness, the diction, the energy in dialogues and the body language were all safe in his hands. P D Namboodiri was impressive as the elder brother. Vineeth was also good in his different character.
Overall, the ups and downs of Swapaanam are on the performance side. While Jayaram and Siddique performed exceedingly well, Kadambari failed to keep up to the expectation. I am giving 3.5/5 for this Shaji N Karun film. Standing ovation for Jayaram and Siddique.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended