The weekend is here and the new lot arrives. It was only last week that the OTT giant Amazon Prime announced its list of Malayalam film for the next three weeks. And ofcourse there were alarm bells ringing fir me because I would have a brand new Malayalam film to watch and review for the next three weeks. While it was Pada last week which tops up in my list of The Best Film of the year 2022 so far, a new Malayalam film Naradan made its way to the OTT platform Amazon Prime this weekend. Starring Tovino Thomas coming fresh off the success of Minnal Murali, I was quite keen to watch him in a bit of a grey shade. Does Naradan manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Naradan follows the story of a TV journalist who will stop at nothing to bring viewership to his newly launched channel. Now where have we heard this before? 😏 Absolutely no prices for guessing the journalist in question here although a lot of it is plain fiction as well. The makers may have borrowed certain events from real life and have weaved a fictional tale. We all know the state of journalism in our country. It is a sad state and I really hope it improves in times to come else it will be a compromise to the democracy. But for the moment lets not get there. Knowing the kind of Malayalam films being churned out, they go all out with no half measures. Which is why I was expecting another Pada with this story.
The screenplay like Pada opens on a scattered note where slowly but surely you are introduced to the main protagonists. The competitiveness between media houses is smartly shone which resonates with the times we live in today. Soon, the game begins to get murkier by the minute where one of the protagonists launches his own channel and starts churning out lies in the name of truth. And thus begins the game of one-upmanship. So far so good and I was really enjoying the honesty with which the makers had decided to spell out the truth. There were even spells of caste discrimination which was cleverly touched upon. The issue begins in the second hour where the writers opt for an easy way out. Had this been a Bollywood film, this would have still worked but considering the high standards set by the Malayalam Film Industry, this was a rather diluted route which was opted. Do not get me wrong, the proceedings are intense and they manage to hold your attention but I really wished that the writers go all out and not shy away from a negative end which was prevalent in films like Nayattu or Pada. Somewhere my expectations were sky high and that was not met here. But overall still an impactful screenplay.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are quite well written and they make an impact. The BGM is good as well but again not as good as some of the earlier films like Bheeshma Parvam. The cinematography is decent and production design is good here giving a proper feel of a big media house. Director Aashiq Abu does a good job here, he has always been prolific. Yet, I felt he was holding himself back and considering such a strong subject at hand which could have transformed into something like a Nightcrawler, the second hour was all vanilla.
The performances are terrific here. Rima Kallingal and Swetha Vinod have their moments to shine. Indrans was exceptional towards the back end of the drama. Sharafudheen as Pradeep is first rate as is Lukman Lukku as Amos and Penji Panicker as Govinda. Anna Ben as Shakira is in a different role from the ones she has been essaying and she is phenomenal. Tovino Thomas as Chandra Prakash is outstanding in a character which is a 180 degree shift from his last outing. The character is the calm and calculative kind which will make your blood boil. Yet he doesn’t go overboard with it in what turns out to be a good outing.
Naradan had a powerful subject and is impactful in parts. Yet considering the high standard of Malayalam films, this one leaves you wanting for more. Available on Amazon Prime.