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BizHat.com > Movies > Reviews > Neythukaran


Direction : Priyanandanan
Script : N Sasidharan
Cast : Murali, Vijayaraghavan, M R Gopakumar, Sona Nair, Jayaraj Warrier and Santha Devi


Neythukaran, the state award winning film is a befitting tribute to EMS, the legendary leader of a momentous era who made monumental contributions to the transformation of Kerala from an obnoxious past when cast ridden feudal system prevailed to the equitable society that it is today. Wielding the megaphone for the first time, Priyanandanan, a school drop out hailing from Thrissur has carved a niche for himself as a promising filmmaker with the deft handling of the subject. Hats off to the debutante for stepping out of the trodden track. The film's technical blemishes seem minor, even negligible considering the significance of the theme it examines or the superior quality of the screenplay, which carries the stamp of an unusually inquisitive and imaginative mind.

The film has so far been at private shows. Thanks to the social milieu in Kerala that has always been conducive to creative pursuits, people in large numbers, very enthusiastic or openly skeptical flocked to watch this film and expressed their views mostly laudatory and some lukewarm. The parallel screening is a welcome initiative as it shows the emergence of a new film culture in the crisis ridden social scenario.

The dialogues rendered in the original regional dialect of Kannur has added to the film's perfection since a substantial portion of the plot revolves around the weavers whose marginal existence in the Kerala society especially in Northern Kerala becomes a vehicle for the film's examination of the political movements and some of their inherent contradictions.

The plot unfolds as the entire state bids a tearful adieu to its beloved leader. The story is told in a series of flash backs interwoven meticulously into the narrative. Set against the backdrop of a middle class family, the film features Appa Mesthri (Murali) as the protagonist. Ageing Communist, Appa Mesthri had worked closely together with EMS who was the champion of the cause of working class and downtrodden sections of the society. The film depicts the heart to heart relationship that the revolutionary leader had established with ordinary people, peasants, farmers, and weavers when the Communist leaders in the state went into hiding following the ban imposed by British Government in the early 40's. Priyanandanan could conjure up on celluloid the persona of Appa Mesthri and the pulsating period in the history of the state with a fair degree of flair and conviction. Geeta (Sona Nair) seem to have established an emotional rapport with her father in law. Appa Mesthri the ailing communist tug at her heart strings while he undergoes a traumatic phase when the news of EMS' death is heard. He suffers from a sense of deprivation after the death of EMS. However, his son Joshi (Vijayaraghavan) and his kids fail to understand him. The plot thickens as Appamesthri broods over his past and confronts the morbid present with restraint. The director handles the push and pull between the past and present quite deftly driving it to a soul-stirring climax. The agony of Appa mesthri is bound to last in the minds of the discerning audience.

There is in fact redundancy of dramatic situations that keep the audience spell bound at times, but one is tempted to think that less would have been better. The infinitely nuanced performance by Murali reiterates the fact that he is an unparalleled actor. Sona Nair has rendered a splendid performance as Geetha.The visuals of the serpentine queues in front of the liquor shops on the day before hartal called by Left parties is a critical appraisal of some of the issues that are predominant in the social life of our state which has detached itself from the lessons of history and political movements.

The film was shot on an almost stringent budget. The overall costs including the prints came to about 18 lakhs. A film without frills, it is not saddled with intellectual baggage. It just tells a human story ripped off from life. In the wake of rave reviews, Priyanandanan looks forward to floating his next venture, which is the cinematic adaptation of Sabdangal by Vaikkom Muhammad Basheer. In short, he does not want to rest on the laurels.

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