Award winning director Shaji N Karun’s Swapaanam is perhaps tailor-made for those lovers of old fashioned arty movies, whose numbers are dwindling in a big way. A decent plot has been painstakingly made as the quintessential “award film”, replete with all the routine ingredients.
Unni (Jayaram) is a genius ‘chenda’ artiste, whose talents go unnoticed, due to his jealous elder brothers. They deliberately brand him as useless and his eccentricities add to his problems. After a failed marriage, he finds solace in a Mohiniyattam dancer, Nalini (Kadambari), the sister of a quirky Brahmin, played by Siddique.
In all fairness, the basic storyline shows some promise and there are some engaging moments here and there as well. But in the whole, it needs real patience to sit through this painfully pretentious ordeal.
The film tries a bit too hard to cater to the traditional symbols that are synonymous with the “serious cinema” tag. Want an example? The occasional mention of communist leaders like EMS and AKG, which should have been added to get a serious tone in general. The dialogues are puerile and the scenes are mostly melodramatic.
The film’s script is shaky and though the basic idea sounds good, the director barely manages to make it all into an engaging experience on screen. The visuals are fine and the music suits the mood.
Jayaram tries a bit too hard to look convincing and his performance tend to become a mimicry show at times. Except for those scenes where she has to dance, Kadambari looks totally lost and out of place.
Among the performances, it is Siddique, who looks different, along with Vineeth, portraying their characters with a definite caricaturist flavor. The performances of the rest of cast, which including some fresh faces, are mostly nothing to rave about.
With no real discipline in its narrative, Swapaanam ends up as a wasted opportunity at best. It never touches your heart and is not everyone’s cup of tea. Decide on your own now!