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by : Behindwoods review board
Mysskin , Snigdha Alolkar and Ashwath Ram
Ayngaran International in association with
G V Films
languishing in the cans for more than a
year and a half, waiting to meet its destiny,
Mysskin ’s Nandalala is finally ready
to grace the big screen.
Simplicity is the most complex of all methods
– something put beautifully by Leonardo
he said ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’.
Talk as we may about big budgets, great technology,
racy scripts and all the whatnots of modern cinema,
a movie comes along every now and then, laying threadbare
all that is extraneous about cinema; presenting to
us the art in its purest form. Yes, that is what Nandalala
is all about – ‘pure cinema’.
film is about Bhaskar Mani (Mysskin ) an adult who
has spent the best part of his life in a mental asylum
and Akhilesh (Ashwath Ram), a schoolboy. Both of them
have one thing in common; separated from their mothers
at a very early age. Both yearn to meet their mother;
though for completely different reasons. One just
wants to let her know how much he misses her and the
other wants to know why he was forsaken by his mother.
Destiny binds them together and they begin a journey,
holding on to each other, searching for their mothers.
As the saying goes, ‘Success is a journey, not
a destination’. The journey taken by Bhaskar
Mani and Akhilesh is not so much about where they
end up, but about what they go through, what they
encounter and what they learn. They start off with
the hope that the destination may change their lives,
may give an outlet to long pent up emotions; but it
is the journey that transforms them. One can only
imagine the plight and helplessness of a man from
a mental asylum and a schoolboy as they walk around
without knowing the harshness and cunning of the world
around them. In the process they are battered and
bruised, but transformed. And, it is not only they
who are transformed. Along the way, their innocence
and affection changes others too. They make friends;
not the backslapping kind; but ones who are able to
understand and share their pain. And in the end they
emerge better, not more street smart or cunning or
worldly, but as people who have come to terms with
what life has offered them. That is Nandalala in a
Firstly; Nandalala is not just a movie, it is an experience.
It would be unfair to try and sum up this exquisitely
crafted work in a few words. That is partly because
it tries to say so little but conveys so much. It
cannot be described, it has to be understood. It is
the narration that will leave you spellbound. A movie
with just two central characters moving along the
road requires a precarious balancing act by the director
to prevent boredom from creeping in. Here, Mysskin
has just excelled in holding the viewers’ attention.
He makes the audience feel the pain of the characters,
generate empathy and is even able to make one’s
eyes go moist. The emotions and happenings on screen
look so genuine and endearing. The one thing about
the movie that strikes you most is the uttermost economy
of dialogues. Not a word more than what needs to be
said is present throughout the movie. In fact, there
are many key points where the director has completely
done away with dialogues. In spite of this, the movie,
or these portions, do not look like an inscrutable
piece of abstract art. They enhance the subtle beauty
of the movie on the whole. In all these portions the
words that are left unsaid are magnificently conveyed
by Ilaiyaraja’s notes. Mysskin had said during
the making of the movie that Ilaiyaraja’s score
will be one of the characters of the movie; how true.
Each and every sound from the master elevates the
movie to a new level. Oscar or not; he is the ultimate
genius when it comes to creating soulful music that
enhances the viewing experience. Another highlight
of the movie is the way it ends; there is no forced
twist or tragedy aimed at creating an impact. The
climax is as original as the rest of the movie.
Mysskin has lived the role of Bhaskar Mani. While
watching the movie, we completely forget that this
is the same man who wrote and directed this. He convinces
and floors you with his performance. No one would
have ever imagined that such a brilliant actor existed
within this director. You have to see for yourself.
Ashwath Ram has carried the weight placed on his tender
shoulders very efficiently. Snigdha comes up trumps
in the first performance oriented role of her career.
Other actors like Nasser and Rohini come in brief
parts. But it is undoubtedly Mysskin and Ashwath Ram
who take all the thunder.
One would expect such a simple and straightforward
movie to have very few highlights on the technical
front. But, camera by Mahesh Muthuswamy will leave
you asking for more. Yes, there are no big sets or
extravagant locations. But, the rustic and natural
beauty of rural Tamil Nadu is brought out. The shots
that show the simple flora and fauna of the landscape
captivate the eye. Khakin’s editing is another
vital aspect of the movie. The transitions between
different episodes of the journey have been brilliantly
executed. Action is not action; it is the natural
and rough skirmish along the roadside.
All said and done; the above words are not adequate
to capture the essence of Nandalala; which is simplicity
and pure love and affection untouched by the wariness
of the big bad world. We have seen entertaining cinema,
action thrillers, sentimental dramas, comedies etc..but
Nandalala is one that transcends genres and even barriers
of language. We often hear about movies from distant
and obscure parts of the world that captivate people
all over the globe; Nandalala seems to be in that
league. Mysskin has placed himself in a position where
very few in Tamil cinema have been. It is an honest
labor of love from the director’s heart. Let’s
stand up and applaud.
Verdict: Picture Perfect !
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