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BANNER

28 November 2011

Nandanam (2002)

2002
Directed by: Ranjith
Music: Raveendran 
Starring: Prithviraj, Navya Nair, Arvind, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, 
Revathi, Innocent, JagathySreekumar, Siddique
Does faith really move mountains? Does true love triumph in the end? The cynic in me would like to say 'No' - I lost my faith many, many years ago, and love is a bastardised emotion in today's world. However, somewhere deep inside me, the romantic is still alive. While I still do not believe in the notion of a God, much less one who helps his / her / its devotees, I would like to believe in the power of love to overcome obstacles. Watching Nandanam strips you of some of the layers of cynicism that armour you. 

It's a simple tale, that of a young servant girl, Balamani (Navya Nair) who falls in love with the scion of the household. And of her belief in Guruvayoorappan, Krishna, the Lord of Guruvayoor. It's the tale of Manu (Prithviraj) who is educated, city-bred, who runs into Balamani during his sojourn at his grandmother's house. It's the tale of an innocent summer madness that deepens into love and has to go through trial by fire before it can be consummated. It's the story of an ancient house and its traditions, prejudices and ingrained biases, and caste and class barriers. It's a tale about people, neither completely good nor completely bad, just flawed, and human. It's about courage of conviction, and being able to rise above pettiness. It's about recognising the good in someone, and knowing that one's doing what's right. Finally, at it's heart, it's the story of faith. Insert Allah or Jesus in place of Krishna and the story will still work. All it needs is faith. 

Unniamma (Kaviyoor Ponnamma) has had an accident and is in need of help. Keshavan Nair ( Innocent) brings a young girl, Balamani, to the house so she can be the old woman's aide. He had already brought three other women as helpers, none of whom have been any good; all of them, however, stay on, eating Unniamma out of house and home, without doing so much as make their own food. Balamani has been brought here with the promise that since Unniamma lives in the temple town of Guruvayoor, she will be able to visit the temple and see the Lord daily. The young girl, a devout follower of Sri Krishna, is thrilled. However, the truth is that three weeks later, she has still been unable to see her Lord in all his glory. It is not her employer but her three co-servants who keep her busy.
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Though she is really hurt at not being able to go to the temple even on an auspicious day, Balamani really has no time to sit and sulk. Neither is she the sort to do so. She is a cheerful, hardworking, practical girl, and after complaining to her photograph of Krishna about his naughtiness at not allowing her to see him, she goes about her duties happily. He is her friend and confidante; the only one to whom she can open her heart and mind to, without fear of rejection.
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She is however, not loath to tell the three older women off for ordering her about. When Keshavan Nair comes to visit, she berates him as well for lying to her about the situation at the house. But there is a deep bond of affection between the two. He treats her as another daughter; in fact, her sister, suffering from a congenital heart disease stays with him and his wife. Her employer treats her with kindness and affection, she has a good friend in the neighbour, Janu (Kala Ranjini). Life is not bad. 

Balamani has recurrent dreams - of a handsome young man who comes into her life and marries her. She even questions her beloved Krishna about it. Why is he showing her such dreams? Imagine her surprise when she opens the outer gates of the house one night and finds the young man of her dreams standing in front of her!
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He is Manu, the young grandson of the house. He's come to spend some time with his beloved grandmother, before leaving for greener pastures abroad. As is her wont, Balamani goes off to talk to her Krishna.
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Manu knows about Balamani because his mother's told him about her. As he has nothing else to do, and she's a pretty young thing, he flirts with her, much to Balamani's discomfiture. She is not a retiring shy violet however, and so gives back as good as she gets. Since he is a decent bloke and means her no harm, they get along very well. She even feels comfortable telling him about seeing him in her dream though not the context.
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She is quick to guard her heart; she knows, better than anyone else, how unlikely a match it would be. She not only talks herself out of imagining anything more than friendliness, she also beseeches her Krishna to help her stay strong. But Manu is falling in love - with her innocence, with her attitude, with her friendliness, and he tells her so. She is quick to dissuade him. Her parents committed suicide together, leaving her the sole support of three other siblings. Her younger sister needs medical treatment; the other sister and brother have been placed by Keshavan Nair in homes where they are treated well and sent to school in return for their labour. This is her story. Is this truly a burden that he wants to shoulder?
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Manu is touched - these are experiences outside his ken. As he holds Balamani, Manu is equally forthright - he had  been flirting with her, but now he is in earnest. He cannot think of life without her, and as soon as his mother joins him here, he's going to talk to her. He promises Balamani that he loves her and will never leave her. 
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Balamani is overjoyed. Never in her wildest dreams had she imagined such a thing! As she goes to her room at night, she thanks her Krishna for bringing her such happiness. And warns him that if this is not the fate he has in mind for her, he'd better be careful what he lets her experience.  

Manu and Balamani, lost in love, weave their dreams as lovers will. Even the arrival of Thankam (Revathi), Manu's mother, does not cause any major upheaval. Thankam is a young widow, who, upon the death of her husband when she was pregnant with Manu, took the unprecedented step of staying put in Bangalore, working and raising her young son all by herself. She is also an affectionate person, and is grateful to Balamani (whom she has never met until now) for taking care of her mother so well.  She even sends Balamani to the temple with Janu, promising Balamani that she's perfectly capable of taking care of her mother's needs for the short while that Balamani will be away.
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Manu has no secrets from his mother, and is very keen on making his love for Balamani known as quickly as possible. Just as he's about to tell her, Janu brings Balamani back to the house. A cyclist veered into Balamani just as they were crossing the main road to the temple; Janu took her to the doctor, but Balamani was feeling faint and so, they had to return. Balamani is devastated at not being able to see the Lord again - as she goes to her room, she excoriates her Krishna for playing tricks on her. She knows he's the cyclist who knocked her down, she tells him. She promises him that she will never enter the temple until she's married to Manu. 
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Before Manu gets another opportunity to talk to his mother, Thankam informs her mother that she has fixed Manu’s marriage up with the only daughter of her childhood friend. It's with her family that Manu was going to stay with in Los Angeles, anyway, and with this marriage, he'll soon be the head of a software company. His future is all set. The wedding will take place before he leaves for the US. As Thankam discusses the details, Balamani is devastated.
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As she hides her misery in her room, she has only one question to ask of her Krishna - hadn't she begged him to stop her if her dreams outstripped her reach? And as she snuffs out the oil lamp in front of her Krishna, her anguish is mirrored by Manu. When he meets her next, Manu tells Balamani that this proposed marriage cannot take place. He will tell his mother so, and if she will not listen, then he will leave. Balamani is the strong one - no, she tells him; he cannot break his mother's heart. They have no right to build a life of happiness on the ruins of another's hopes and desires.
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As he leaves, none too convinced, she cries bitterly but silently. Slowly, she packs her things; she's convinced Manu to stay, but she cannot. She is angry - with herself for dreaming impossible dreams; with her Krishna for not stopping her; with Keshavan Nair for bringing her here in the first place. When Keshavan Nair comes in, he's upset that she's leaving just when there's a wedding in the family. Balamani is impenitent. So what? Keshavan Nair cannot understand her - he's taking her sister to Cochin the next day for her operation; he's borrowed money from Unniamma, and has asked her to cut it from Balamani's salary, little by little. Does Balamani wish him to return the money? 
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Balamani tells him the truth. Keshavan Nair is sad. He tells her that he had brought her here because he knew she would be treated with affection. All households are not safe for teenage girls. He begs her to stay until the wedding is over, and to pray to Guruvayoorappan for strength. Balamani agrees. What else can she do?  

Janu is excited, her son has come on a visit, and she has much to do. She asks Balamani to come and visit him when he's home. Balamani promises, but there's much work and she never quite finds the time. One evening, as she's coming back from the fields, she sees the old well; it's tempting but just as she's dropping in a stone to check how deep it is, a voice hails her with great familiarity.
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Balamani is surprised. Does she know the youth? Then, as he talks to her, she realises he is Unnikrishnan, Janu's son. 

Perhaps it's having someone who is sympathetic. Whatever it is, she decides that she has cried enough. As she lights the lamp in front of her Krishna again, she confesses that her brief fall from grace was just the naivete of a young girl who didn't know any better. She promises her Krishna that she will not neglect him so, and that she will go back to being the old cheerful Balamani again. She tries hard too, only she doesn't succeed very well. Unniamma is concerned, but Balamani convinces her that she is okay. 

Soon, she's sharing confidences with this young man, who seems to know so much more than he should. He teases her, drives her mad with curiosity, but is such a support that she comes to depend on him. In the meantime, wedding preparations are going on full swing. Relatives are coming in from far and near, none too happy with the suddenness of the ceremony; as is usual when relatives congregate, there's happiness,  there's bickering, there's some amount of backbiting, old grievances are aired. Thankam's only support are her two youngest brothers, and Balan (Siddique), her ex-lover. 

As the house fills up, and wedding preparations heat up, Manu breaks down. Thankam is taken aback. As she comforts her son, she is sad that he didn't tell her before; she's also upset with herself for not realising that this was not like choosing a shirt for her son; that he had grown up. She also confesses that she might still have disagreed - her son to marry a servant girl? But now, it's too late. There are only two days left for the wedding.
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Whatever she did, she did for his future. That's all she'd ever dreamt of. Can't he forget Balamani? He should. For her sake. For his. Manu has no answer. Thankam also goes to meet Balamani to beg her forgiveness.
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The girl is touched. She has no rancour; his mother had done the right thing. As Thankam hugs her close, she confesses that her son had chosen wisely. Balamani is in tears, but Unnikrishnan comforts her.
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Don't worry, he says. Pray to God, and he will help. Will he? How can Krishna not listen to her? Unnikrishnan smiles. 

The next morning, the household is thrown into disarray. The bride-to-be has eloped with her boyfriend. What are they to do? People are calling to ask if what they heard is true. This is public humiliation. How are they going to salvage the reputation of the house? As her older brother and uncles attack her for fixing things so quickly without their input, Thankam shrinks. She's always been the odd one out in the family, and except for her two youngest brothers, has no support at all. Thankam breaks down.  

Balamani is working outside when Unnikrishnan hails her. Did you hear? he asks. The wedding is off. Balamani is shocked. Unnikrishnan smiles a devilish smile…
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Balamani is not amused. Does he think this is all a game? Unni laughs. He's sure it is. 

However, things are moving in a different direction up at the old house. They have a reputation to salvage, and an idea is mooted - why not get Manu married to his eldest maternal uncle's daughter? That way, the wedding can take place as scheduled. All they have to do is to inform the aunt's relatives. The uncle is not displeased; the aunt agrees. Manu is disgusted.
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And Keshavan Nair has a role to play as well. In order to further his ward's interests, he suggests to Unniamma that they match their horoscopes - after all, both are children of the same house. Unniamma agrees.
Keshavan Nair brings in an 'astrologer', Kumbidi (Jagathy Sreekumar), who, after much declaiming in Sanskrit, pronounces that the horoscopes do not match. At all. Thankam's eldest uncle is not convinced. He wants the horoscopes to be looked at by his  astrologer, a very reputed man. 

Unni meets Balamani in the evening as usual, and congratulates her on her upcoming nuptials. Balamani scoffs. Manu is going to marry his cousin. Unni is surprised. He thought the Kumbidi had said the horoscopes didn't match?
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How does Unni know that?

They are greeted the next morning with the news that the astrologer was on his way when he suffered a minor accident. Considering it an evil portent, the learned man decided not to come. The household is thrown into disarray once again. And this is when Balan and her younger brothers persuade Thankam to break the news of Manu's love for Balamani. 

Will Thankam persuade her family that a servant girl is a fit bride for her son?  Will Manu's and Balamani's love for each other triumph over petty class distinctions? Or will Balamani be forced to leave the house as the elders decree she must? If she does go, what about the debt she owes Unniamma? Will Balamani ever see the Lord at Guruvayoor? And just who is Unnikrishnan? And what does he have to do with the way the events unfold?

Nandanam was a beautiful love story with very believable characters. Supported with some fine acting by regulars such as Kaviyoor Ponnamma and Innocent, the lead pair (debutantes Navya, Prithviraj) did a fine job as the young lovers. On the face of it, Nandanam was like any other love story - parental opposition, tears, tragedy - but the film was uplifted by the script and direction. Firstly, the opposition was believable. Secondly, there were no rebellious speeches, no elopement, no chases, no over-the-top melodrama.

The hero and the heroine actually talk to each other; when she first hears of a marriage proposal for him, instead of jumping to conclusions and misunderstanding him, it is to Manu that Balamani comes for reassurance. It is he who holds her and soothes her fears. Her belief in his love is as deep as her belief in her Krishna. So much so that even after she asks him to obey his mother, she knows he is suffering just as much as she is. It is not just the romance that is sensitively handled. The relationship between Thankam and Manu, between Unniamma and Balamani, they were all drawn with a fine, sensitive hand. 

There were knee-jerk responses, sure, but there was also the leavening of compassion and understanding. There was practicality, there was maturity, there was cheerfully doing one's duty. There was also standing up for one's right to live the life they desire, and unconditional support for doing so. And deep within, there was one girl's faith and belief and trust in God.

Revathi was simply brilliant as the slightly possessive single mother of a son. She is affectionate, loving, practical, and not above a little bit of emotional blackmail. Yet, deep in her heart, she wants her son's happiness. When the chips are down, it's that she fights for. 

Prithviraj excelled as Manu; it was a great debut, and a different one. This was not a role that most young heroes would have accepted as their first - the hero does not get to declaim the greatness of his love; he's not a rebel; he doesn't get to beat up sundry villains who attempt to molest the heroine when they are on the run; heck, he doesn't even elope! Yet, he is as an ordinary young man in real life would be - a bit confused, tied by his affection for his mother and grandmother on one hand, and his responsibility toward his girl, and his dreams of living his own life, on the other.  

Navya - what a wonderful actress, and what perfect dialogue delivery! After Manju Warrier left the scene, there hasn't been a single lead actress in Malayalam who dub their own dialogues! No, not even native Malayalis. To ears that had tired of hearing the same dubbing artistes dub for actresses in their thirties to actresses in their teens, Navya came as a breath of fresh air. 

With a fantastic speaking voice, and a very natural style of talking, Navya added a depth to her role as Balamani. She was perfect as the young servant girl who is both innocent and mature at the same time. Her unbending belief in her Krishna, her conversations with his photograph, her ability to talk to anyone naturally - Navya brought that innocence to life. Her faith, her hurt, her sense of belonging, and later, her willingness to shoulder rejection - they were expressed beautifully. 

Neither Prithviraj nor Navya showed any awkwardness on screen. They were completely natural, and it's not difficult to see why both of them went on to carve a niche for themselves in the past decade.  

Arvind is the surprise package as Unnikrishnan. His eyes are alight with mischief as he plots and plans and schemes. He is at once playful and devious, and sees no harm in causing any amount of distress to any number of people if the result is what he deems right. The end justifies the means, and he is happiest when he can create mayhem. I cannot think of anyone else who might have had the same gleam of sheer naughtiness.  

So, did I like everything about the movie? No. I could have done away with the entire comic side plot which really did not fit into the arc of the narrative, even if it did cause me to laugh out loud a couple of times. (That had more to do with the Innocent's lines and his way of delivering them than the scene itself.) It was totally unnecessary, and the film would have been the better without it. I suppose, though, that this being his first film as director, being his second film after Ravanaprabhu*,  and very unique in its story (maybe he wasn't sure how a film about faith would fare commercially?), Ranjith felt the need to bow down to the demands of the box-office. 

Secondly, the songs. They are beautiful, but their picturisation left a lot to be desired. Again, these are minor nit-pickings, and this is definitely one film in which I'm willing to overlook them in favour of the overall picture. It's a film that leaves you with a feeling that sometimes, miracles can, and do occur. In today's times, I think that is a lot to believe, but therein lies the film's strength.

*Edited to include Pradeep's correction

ps: This is available on DVD from AP International with decent (not great) subtitles. 
pps: Sorry, Lalitha. 

46 comments:

  1. Kya re baba, I wanted to go and sleep and then you pop in this review?
    Me bolta hu, yeh theek na hoga, ha!

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  2. Did you read it, harvey, or fall asleep over it? ;)

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  3. I saw this, I saw this, I saw this! Shweta (our neighbour) insisted on my watching it! And I loved it! I thought the songs were melodious - they were certainly pleasant to my ears. :) And ooh, the hero chap - Prithviraj? He's a looker! It's a lovely movie, and yes, the side plot got a bit irritating. I was glad I cannot understand the language.

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  4. Good for you Tina, and I'm glad you liked it. :) Yes, PR is a looker alright.

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  5. I had work to do - a deadline looming - and no, I set it aside and read this review instead. And I'm pretty sure I'm not even going to be able to get hold of a subtitled copy! :-(

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  6. Madhu, payback is so sweet. LOL. (I remember posting a comment about deadlines (not) interfering with my reading of one of your reviews.) :))

    But the first thing I'm going to do when I come to India next is to buy a whole lot of Malayalam and Tamil films (with sub-titles) and ship them to you! Really!

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  7. Sharmi Ghosh Dastidar29 November 2011 at 10:18

    I so want to see this film after reading the summary. What I love about these regional films are that they are so like life itself, real characters, real situations, real emotions. Nothing like a simple drama with plausible situations. And I'm sure with veterans at the helm the performances were fantastic. Where can I see this? Is it up on the net?

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  8. That's what I found endearing about this movie, Sharmi. That it was so plausible. I ended up wanting to believe like Balamani did; however, I don't. It is available on YouTube, but that did not come with sub-titles. I did a quick search online, and this link below claims it's a DVD rip with sub-titles; I do not download movies from the web, so I cannot say if it works or not. With that disclaimer:

    https://thepiratebay.org/torrent/6412640/Nandanam_%282002%29_DVDRip_XviD_AC3_Subs_malayalam_movie

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  9. Sharmi, came across these links; these have sub-titles:

    http://olangal.biz/googlevideo.php?l=1714331347239606171
    http://olangal.biz/googlevideo.php?l=-4770731195452057589
    http://olangal.biz/googlevideo.php?l=1562675303133329833
    http://olangal.biz/googlevideo.php?l=775666961266650034

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  10. This sounds very interesting, Anu. Thanks for providing links with sub-titles.

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  11. Anuradha, Ranjith's first film as a director was Ravanaprabhu, not Nandanam. It surprised many of us that a movie like Nandanam succeeded Ravanaprabhu and many of his macho scripts which were regressive and made for superstars. At a time when Malayalam cinema was struggling with its roots, this was an off-shot to an earlier generation of cinema with its simple story telling.

    Nandanam was a soft romantic movie with a touch of the Divine, nicely weaved in, without the kind of God melodrama seen in many movies, especially Telugu. Even though God has an important role to play in the movie, Ranjith still puts across a few potshots like the Minister (hinting at Karunakaran) visiting Guruvayur and Balamani not being able to get the Lord's Darshan because of that. The presence of the three ladies (best used by Bharathan in Keli) and their chattering was delightful -a more natural form of comedy without the unnecessary jokes that seemed so important, more so after the 1990s.

    Prithviraj was natural in a role that did not demand much and seemed to be be tailor made for a newcomer, especially someone new to the region (he had just returned from Australia then) while Navya was definitely a charming and innocent presence that you cannot forget immediately. Jagathy's role was uncalled for and had no great significance - was this an attempt to balance the true Divine and the false Godmen angle? Arvind was the perfect successor to Nitish Bharadwaj (don't think any other figure had such a naturally illuminating presence on screen as a God).

    Will mail you across more recommendations of Malayalam, in case you are interested. Have been a keen follower, especially anything in the late 80s onwards.

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  12. Pradeep, thanks. I didn't know Ranjith was responsible for the excrescence that was Ravanaprabhu. I knew he had been the writer, but didn't know he was also its director. I'll make that correction at once.

    I wish Ranjit (wasn't he also called 'Renjith' at one time? When did better sense prevail?) had restricted the comedy to the 'three witches' (they reminded me of Macbeth). That was natural. Jagathy's role was over the top (and the instances with Mala Aravindan, Kalabhavan Mani and Jagdeesh only made me want to kill myself - slowly!) and were bearable only because of Innocent's reactions and his dialogues.

    I have to edit your post to add the fact that it contains spoilers. :) You'll notice I didn't make any reference to that part of the movie at all. But yes, I agree with you about Arvind.

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  13. Thanks, Ruhi. Do tell me what you think after you watch it.

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  14. Was an unintended spoiler, did not realise that in the flow until you mentioned it - a small apology!

    Even I think he was Renjith at one time; more in sync with the actual Malayalam pronunciation, I suppose. Even more surprising that after Nandanam and the understated Kaiyoppu, he made 'Rock N Roll', Prajapathi and Black!!! Looks like he has left these kind of movies past him and his last ones have gladly been delightfully memorable.

    'Three witches of Macbeth' Vs the 3 ladies of Nandanam - a rather wild comparison, I'd say..Wonder what Ranjith has to say about that:) I reckon that most directors look to Jagathy whenever they wish to create odd ball characters, relying purely on him to balance the goofiness with his natural abilities.

    On the dubbing side, I wonder why Malayalam actresses are reluctant to dub for themselves but don't Meera Jasmine and Samvrutha dub for themselves? Even Kavya Madhavan did for a few of her movies, I think, like in Mizhi Randilum. Without Bhagyalakshmi, where would all our actresses have gone?

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  15. Last night, I left after I saw the length of the post.
    But now I took time to go through it.
    To tell you the truth I don't know what to make of it. On the one side it seems to be quite melodramatic but on the other hand also quite endearing.
    I think, I will let myself be satisfied by reading your detailed review, which gives me a feeling of watching the film itself! :-)
    So go ahead and introduce us to more Malayalam films! ... par zara dheere!

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  16. Loved this movie. Much innocence, simplicity and joy with a cast of likeable characters... and Guruvayoor is one of my favorite places on earth. Maybe I should go watch it again... :)

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  17. Pradeep, they are nothing like the witches! :) I know that. Just the whole gloom, doom they indulged in... :)

    I think Meera does dub for herself. Her voice is quite distinctive. Does Kavya? I'm not sure.

    I've begun to look forward to Ranjith's movies - he's coming out with some really different ones.

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  18. Welcome to my blog, locks (interesting handle ;) ). Yes, this was indeed a simple film. I stay clear of Guruvayoor. :) Too crowded, too commercial, too everything...

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  19. Harvey, melodramatic is one thing it is NOT. I notice Lalitha's decided to forego the review in favour of filter coffee and masala dosas. So I'll keep your (and Lalitha's) wishes (zara dheere...) in mind when posting reviews.

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  20. Lalitha is on the way to becoming certifiably insane - I have spent the better part of the day trying to book tickets for a cruise, and after spending more than 4 hours at the computer, and getting most of the work done, I find that the cruise line will not let me check in because my flight arrives in Florida at 1:10 p.m for a cruise departing at 4:30 p.m, and they want me to arrive by 1:00 p.m. I am going to have to spend tomorrow on the phone with the cruise company, then if they refuse to budge, see if the airline will let me switch to an earlier flight without penalizing me, then beg hubby to take us to the airport at 4 a.m, instead of 6:30 a.m. So there has been no time to come here until now because I need some place to vent my frustration. Bear with me.
    I started watching the movie online in between waiting for various people to help me out with the bookings, and it does look good, but your review looks even better. However, I don't think I will be able to watch the rest until this matter is settled, so now I have three partly watched movies waiting for me, and then I have to watch Biwi-o-Biwi. Why did I start following these movie blogs? Lalitha, you are such an idiot. *Beats herself on the head*

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  21. I'm so sorry to hear of your day - it must be frustrating! I hope the cruise liner is more sympathetic - I have no hope of the airline changing your tickets without penalties.

    Poor you - you have Charade, Muthal Mariyathai and Nandanam on the partly-watched list, do you not? I'm beginning to feel very guilty. *goes off to tuck a pillow between Lalitha's head and hand to stop her from beating herself up*

    And thank you for the compliment, for the movie is good.

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  22. Kavya has dubbed for herself in Mizhi Randilum, Kilukkam Kilukilukkam, Seelabathy etc but her voice is supposedly 'not the most suitable one' and so uses a dubbing artist.

    Ranjith's next movie is rumoured to be based on 'Leela' by R Unni, a short story published in Matrubhumi. It is a bit of a bizarre plot dealing with a man's search to fulfill his sexual fantasy - not too sure how this will translate on screen!!!

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  23. I'm so sorry to hear of your day - it must be frustrating! I hope the cruise liner is more sympathetic - I have no hope of the airline changing your tickets without penalties.

    Poor you - you have Charade, Muthal Mariyathai and Nandanam on the partly-watched list, do you not? I'm beginning to feel very guilty. *goes off to tuck a pillow between Lalitha's head and hand to stop her from beating herself up*

    And thank you for the compliment, for the movie is good.

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  24. That is sad; because somehow, it takes away from her award-winning performances, does it not? It's not just her, but her dubbing artiste too who should be awarded.

    I've faith in Ranjith now, though even I'm curious to see how that plot description will translate onscreen. There's a sensitivity with which he has handled diverse plots since Nandanam. I've come to a point where, once again (after a long time), I'm beginning to watch movies based on the director's name, instead of that of the stars.

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  25. Finally, a movie that I have seen! Aforementioned mallu friend showed me this one; and I really liked it. It was refreshing to see a teenage (sort of) love story without any melodrama; and no real villain, no car chases, no fights... and the twist in the tale is so intriguing one is left wondering whether it really happened. I'd like to think it did. :)

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  26. Dekha, tumhare review ke wajah se kya tragedies yahh khele ja rahe hai? ;-)

    @ Lalitha: jala do, jala do, ise phunk dalo yeh cruise ships!

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  27. Dekha, tumhare review ke wajah se kya tragedies yahh khele ja rahe hai? ;-)<

    Meri wajah se? Arre,
    if it weren't for my review, she wouldn't have had anything to alleviate her frustration with various (so-called) customer service representatives!

    And jala dalo-ing the cruise ship isn't going to help if she is planning to travel on one, no?

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  28. So true - if it had not been for the review, I would not have been watching it while on hold with the cruise lines, then the airlines, and my frustration would have increased ten-fold, so I have to be thankful to Anu, both for the review and for being kind enough to "tuck a pillow between Lalitha's head and hand to stop her from beating herself up*"! As it turned out, the cruise people were kind enough to override that requirement when I spoke to them late last night.
    @Harvey, this is my birthday present, (albeit belated!), so I definitely don't want to jala dalo the cruise ship!

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  29. See, harvey, I told you so! (feeling very vindicated! And besides, it's great fun to be able to say 'I told you so'!)

    Belated Happy Birthday, Lalitha, and I hope you have a great time! I'm glad the cruise ship people were amenable to resolving your problem - I didn't have any great hope of the airline reps doing squat. Now, have a filter coffee and finish watching all the movies that you have left off mid-way. :))

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  30. Okaaaaay *slunk away in a teenage manner*
    But you see my threat worked too. My jala do made them amend their ways!

    ;-)

    Enjoy the cruise Lalitha and belated happy birthday!
    Films to aate jaate rahenge!

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  31. Why do you have Prthiviraj Kapoor on your tag list for this film?

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  32. Quite true..Imagine Shobana in Manichitrathazhu without the excellent vocal support provided by Bhagyalakshmi but all the acclaim was garnered by only Shobana..

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  33. Aargh, because Blogger has this awful habit of bringing up tags you have used previously, and when I typed 'Prithviraj' it must have brought up old Papaji's name. It'll insert it willy-nilly, and then, if you catch it, you must go and manually erase the wrong tag. And of course, like now, I sometimes miss it.

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  34. That's true. Especially the climax, where the dialogue adds to the excellent acting by Shobhana.

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  35. Finished watching the movie - it is great! Your review is spot on - I didn't care for the comedy part, even if that Kumbidi did play a role in the main story, it was irritating to watch that in between a sweet, old fashioned romance, and the songs were annoying, too! I just skipped the songs, as is my wont, and watched the rest, and was pleased to find that I didn't need the sub-titles! I don't watch Malayalam movies after a series of awful movies that I checked out a few years back, and they were really, really bad, so this was so refreshing and pleasant - thank you, Anu!
    By the way, there was a movie called "Oru Malayala maamanukku vanakkam", which was shot in our ancestral home - it has been sold to someone who rents it out for movies and TV serials. Now, if you ever decide to watch that movie, ... (word of warning, it was no great shakes as a movie, though!)

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  36. Thanks for coming back to comment after watching the movie, Lalitha, and I'm glad you liked it. The songs by themselves are good - they just didn't make any sense in the story - except the last one which was important to the narrative.

    I'll keep a watch for the movie you mention *and* keep your caveat in mind :))

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  37. Okay, so then I will go back and listen to the last one. I did listen to the Yesudas song, which was good.
    Btw, I also liked "vanaprastham", "Bhoothakannaadi", and "His Highness Abdullah". I realize this is preaching to the choir, since you are bound to know these movies, but I haven't been watching any Malayalam movies of late. Do give me the names of some recent, and not so recent, good movies, and I will look for them in our grocery store,when I go there next.

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  38. Good ones? Passenger, Adaminte Makan Abu, Sufi Paranja Katha, Paleri Manickyam - Oru Paathira Kolapathakathinte Katha, Thirakatha, Classmates, Katha Parayumbol, Kayyoppu, Perumazhakkalam, Kaazhcha, Pranchiettan and the Saint, Arabikkatha, Ividam Swargamanu, Ore Kadal, Mizhikal Saakshi, Kaliyattam, Bharatham ... there are so many. :)

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  39. Thanks, Anu! I will get these after I finish watching the ones currently on my list - Charade, Mudhal Mariyadhai, and Biwi-o-Biwi. By then, it will probably be time for me to go on the cruise, so these will probably have to wait till after Christmas. Maybe we will have some snowfall, and I can watch these movies with a mug of hot cocoa in one hand and my knitting in the other!

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  40. Wow, you can knit with one hand? ;)

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  41. Good one, Anu!

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  42. Anu, just finished watching this - thank you for the recommendation! I loved it: such a sweet, down-to-earth film. And though I guessed Unnikrishnan's identity pretty soon, that last scene was just perfect. (By the way, I thought Arvind was absolutely great too - a fabulous blend of mischief and playfulness and yet understanding) :-) Thank you for this. The first Malayalam film I recall having watched, and such a great way to begin. 

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  43. Madhu, I'm so glad that you liked it! It is well worth a national release, but I wonder how many people will appreciate its simplicity. (I have nightmares of Priyadarshan remaking it in Hindi!) I'm very glad that you managed to get your hands on this one - if Malayalam films are available, I can give you some more recommendations - films like these. Nandanam came as a breath of fresh air in an industry which had been stuffed to the gills with the antics of two aging superstars.

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  44. Arjun Narayanan16 July 2012 at 06:00

    Nandanam is one of those films which remain with you long after you have watched it. Navya Nair was a complete revelation in this film. Nice review

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  45. Thanks, Arjun. I'm mostly agnostic, but even I cannot help but be moved by the faith in the film. :) Yes, Navya was excellent; so were Kaviyoor Ponnamma and Revathi.

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