Thursday, August 30, 2007
Review - Shyamaprasad's Ore Kadal
I had been waiting for ‘Ore Kadal’ to release; right from the time the news about Shyamaprasad’s new movie based on Sunil Gangopadhyay’s novel ‘Heerak Deepthi’ started doing its rounds. Lot of things happened in between: Controversies involving novelist Subhash Chandran and Shyamaprasad, association of KR Meera in the script – but finally, the much-awaited movie released. Essentially ‘Ore Kadal’ analyses the intricate nature of human relationships through an in-depth portrayal of four complex and emotional characters. Making a movie that can belong to any contemporary time period/geography is a challenge of its own. Shyamaprasad can be proud of achieving just that.
Mammooty plays a renowned economist Dr. Nathan who does not believe in any emotional relationship, and trusts that his mind is not to be bound to any specific individual or liaison. The careless debonair of an alcoholic intellect and the overwhelming guilt of being dispassionate, looms over the character of Dr. Nathan. Mammooty portrays the divergent images that take his mind between a rough unemotional exterior, and a warm confused interior, with ease. Meera Jasmin plays Deepthi, a mother and housewife who has the strings of her mind being pulled by the isolation that she despairs to leap out of. Deepthi has a gentle psyche that brightens on the unexpected love it finds, moves into a frenzy as it evolves through lust and reaches a devastated stage where she is caught between the passions in her relationships. As a person who thought that Meera often goes over that narrow border between acting and overacting, I should acknowledge her phenomenal performance in 'Ore Kadal'. At times I feel that the class of an actor is not in expressing strong emotions for short durations, but is rather in displaying the subtle tenacity of light emotions with consistency – Meera has done just that. If she could win Urvashi for T V Chandran’s ‘Paadam Onnu: Oru Vilaapam’, this should be a cakewalk. Ramya Krishnan does a fantastic job as Bela, a very mature character. She acts as the alter ego of Dr. Nathan, which acknowledges the weaknesses of Nathan’s character and tries to let Nathan observe it. The bottomless melancholy of grief from the hard times of her life shines through the hazel eyes of Bela, through her occasional glance here and a short dialogue there. In a cast jaded by superstars, Ramya does her part without a lot of drumbeats and applause – quietly going about her job and all the while exemplifying that her acting skills stands much taller than item numbers. Naren stars as the husband of Deepthi, a normal middle class person who tries to make ends meet for his family and at times is reduced to be a mere spectator as the drama of life evolves.
For a movie that has most of its screen time indoors, the scope of impressing the people through camera work or technical gimmicks is almost negligible. Azhagappan accomplishes the near impossible - Using the light as a delicate background to the movie’s theme, and presenting some exquisite visuals. Editing a movie that moves between four diverse poignant characters, without the observer experiencing the turbulence of impulsive transitions requires a lot of skill, and the efforts from Vinod Sukumaran are laudable. The art direction and costumes made sure that the negligible space in Nathan’s flat was exploited to set up the careless slapdash attitude of his character. Unlike the so-called ‘mainstream’ movies, the music of 'Ore Kadal' had released devoid of ‘noise’, but it truly takes away the cake for being the vital part of the movie. Ouseppachan might have just made the best music of the year, especially handling the tough job of composing 4 different songs in the same raga ‘Subha Panthuvarali’ to match the moods of the movie.
Shyamaprasad has returned with a bang after his 'Akale', which did not strike the right chord with audience. Although Shyam has handed over the accolades to his remarkable cast, the movie is essentially teamwork – A rhythmic coordination of a team striving for perfection. And for that to happen, we need a director who has a lucid idea about his theme and an approach to let his audience perceive it. As a director, there are umpteen occasions where he could have slipped off that narrow ridge, and fallen into the deep gorges of overemotional melodrama, lust or vulgarity. Shyam stays away from all of it, distances himself from forcing any judgment on the viewers and most importantly facilitates a rare opportunity for the spectators to come up with their own verdicts on the deeds of the characters. I felt couple of glitches in the movie when common sense gave way to continuity, but then - what is perfect? Dealing with such a sensitive thread of infidelity and betrayal, which often presents that thin line of morality to the viewers, is a colossal challenge by its own. We see a director’s shining signature that was displayed with ease in ‘Peruvazhiyile Kariyilakal’ and ‘Agnisaakshi’ reaching its pinnacle during ‘Ore Kadal’. Be it in that symbolic frame that occasionally interludes to cast the image of a secluded electric pole where a lot of power lines meet & disperse to new directions, Be it in the revelation that there is a ferociously lashing sea of ‘Self’ between the shores named ‘You’ and ‘Me’.
The crowd expecting an outright 'masala' entertainer seeing the cast lines of Mammooty and Meera might be disappointed – as I could guess from the cat calls in the theatre. But, I regard a movie worthy if the mind lingers with the visuals and characters of the movie for days. 'Ore Kadal' has been so enticing that we could see ourselves standing next to Nathan & Deepthi, wandering in that dim apartment trying to reach that narrow frame of light through the balcony - all the while trying to come up with a conclusion on these complex yet amazing characters. That is exactly what I call triumph of a director and zenith of recognition for a movie.
Verdict – Recommended, with Two Thumbs Way Up!