The theatre had influenced several generations of Malayalis in a big way during the past, before weaning away to near oblivion. Kamal’s Nadan has been marketed as a take on the theatre and even poses itself to be one with all the voiceovers, but in reality it is a flawed misadventure.
Sargavedi Devadas (Jayaram) boasts about a rich tradition in the world of theatre, with his father and grand father mesmerizing the stage with their stellar performances. But his troupe is in dire straits now and a couple of artistes find the going tough with the meager income from the occasional shows.
He lives away from his wife Sudharma (Sajitha Madathil) and the couple’s two daughters, staying in a modest office. It is his life that is being discussed here and on how the troupe lost its glory. Then there is Jyothy (Remya Nambeeshan), who is a highly successful actor when the story is happening.
Though the film begins well with some black and white visuals of yesteryear drama performances, the narrative soon gets into a sluggish pace. At about two hours and twenty minutes, this film makes you cringe in your seats, due to sheer exhaustion.
The script by S Suresh Babu has nothing new to offer and is never an authentic take on Kerala’s drama history. The story meanders along aimlessly for most of the time in a highly predictable way, without any surprises for the hapless viewers.
Kamal has faltered big time in making this one into an engaging saga. However it is Madhu Neelakantan’s brilliant visuals that turn out to be the real highlight of the movie. Ouseppachan’s scores suit the mood.
Jayaram repeats his trademark acting style in a lazy way. Remya Nambeeshan’s stoic expressions sometimes make the viewers confused about the actual state of mind of her character. The performances of Sajitha Madathil and KPAC Lalitha stand out from the rest.
In the end, Nadan becomes a rather boring attempt that fails to touch the minds of the viewers. There have been some terrific movies in the past, like Yavanika for instance, with drama as its backdrop. This one is never in the league but worse still, is far from entertaining as well!