After the critical and commercial success of his last in 'Celluloid'', director Kamal seems to be in a mood to pay homage to the early generation of artists. And now in his 'Nadan' he is paying tributes to a generation of theatre artists who lived and died for the art.
The movie which opens in a documentary mode with voice over, but soon lands in the story of Sargavedi Devadas (Jayaram) , a dramatist who boasts about a rich tradition in the world of theatre. His father K P A C Bharathan and grand father Oaachira Pappu asan once mesmerised the stage with their stellar performances, taking a place in the history. But after the coming up of mimics and short programmes, his troupe is in dire straits now with a group of senior artistes finding it tough to live with their meagre income. Devadas is also a loner as he lives in his office, away from his wife Sudharma (Sajitha Madathil), an one time actress, and his two daughters. It was the arrival of a talented artist named Jyothy (Remya Nambeeshan), who later turned out into a very successful actor in films, hat devastated the life of Devadas. As he moves on to more miserable experiences, Devadas finds little expectations for the revival of the art.
Kamal, in his attempts to give a reasonably researched flick on Kerala theatres also tries to intertwine the lives and crisis of present day artists through the movie . His scriptwriter S Suresh Babu has weaved a fine screenplay but couldn't sprinkle the needed elements to keep the audience engaging. Though the senior director has skilfully directed the movie and the performances on the screens are all even, the predictability and inability to hold the interest of the audiences and sluggish pace affects the narratives. But the brilliant visuals by Madhu Neelakantan, and art direction by Suresh Kollam must be given full marks as it heightens the realism in the movie. So is the songs by Ouseppachan including 'Ottakku padunnoru' and 'Moolivarum ilangattil' which perfectly captures the taste of the movie.
Jayaram is excellent as the title character of Devadas. He and the director excels in the climax portions, which may fetch big accolades for the duo. Sajitha Madathil,Sasi Kalinga, Vijayalakshmy K P A C Lalitha, Sethulakshmy and a host of artists who arrived to filmdom from theatre, gives a perfect performance to the realistic settings of the movie.
In the final analysis ,'Nadan' may not be in the league of previous movies in Mollywood with theatres in the background. Though a little slow, it can be a flick that may not offend the family audiences and is definitely made with the needed passion. Have a watch, if you love serious cinema.