Cast: Mammotty, Meera Jasmine, Narain, Ramya Krishnan
Direction: Shyama Prased
Dealing with the intricacies of human relationship have always been the successful forte of story telling for Shyama Prasad.
And while into these kind of themes, he has never ever disappointed us from the beginning of his career as a film maker, as he attempts a film only when a potential subject urge him to make one visual beauty on that. He knows how to craft a beautiful movie while resorting to the good story lines of established literary figures like K Mohanan, Lalithamabika Antharjanam (Agnisakshi), Tenessee Williams (Akale), S L Puram, Ganga Prasad Vimal (Bokshu The Myth) and even an Albert camus…And that is why he emerged as a master story teller in a short time, a rare breed of director who have no complaints on the lack of good story material.
Shyamaprasad has gone in for an adaptation of Sunil Gangopadhya’s Heerak Deepthi for this Onam in Ore Kadal. And with the film, he has delivered a dark but humanistic, gripping and life-illumining film, which takes only a few minutes to make you realize that it has begun its seduction, impossible to resist. It tells more about man’s endless desire to acquire, to separate needs and conveniences in the new globalize society. It also touches on the sexual and emotional imbalance existing between couples- A kind of film that will not allow you to reach for your popcorn as you sit eager in want to enjoy every word, follow every twist in another great script and wonder at the way the seemingly complicated plot devices are merged. What you may really cherish in the end is not alone its smartness, but its endearing appeal as a love story, unless you are a traditionalist.
Told poetically and uncompromisingly by the director, once again employing an extractive style and imagery that transcends realism. Ore Kadal is a sensitive tale of Deepti, a middle class housewife, who is irresistibly drawn to a radical, forthright intellectual, Nathan, who is a renowned social scientist, more comfortable with his theories. Dr Nathan a loner and alcoholic, who is studying the inequalities of the Indian society, hardly recognize any feelings of life as he finds economics, as what that rules the world. He often shares his values with high class call girl Bela, who is his only friend and who often shares everything with each other for “Being happy for the moment, which is your life and realizing that there are no mistakes in life, only things you do and don’t do”. He doesn’t believe in relationships, or any kind of emotional bonding, rather than the needs of the hour. The movie also delves with the changing value systems of the middle class in this age of globalization, where the dividing lines between right and wrong, honesty and deceit, loyalty and betrayal, are increasingly narrowing down. It may be the same self-torture that the two protagonists are exposed to live with.
Dr.Nathan once happens to help Deepthy, a lady staying with her husband Jayakumar, in the same flat, to take her son to a hospital. He soon develops a fascination for her in a moment to celebrate, which ends in bed, which is nothing new to him. But for Deepthy it is the opening of a new world where she is drawn more emotionally to him. Very soon the genius helps her in many ways, even by getting her husband a job. Both share many intimate moments together but refuses, to accept that they are slowly but surely falling in love. As she gets pregnant, Deepti’s mounting sense of guilt pushes her towards mental instability. Her husband and children are caught unaware of the emotional conflict that she have and her return to sanity even after three years doesn’t lessen her inner suffering.
What the film follows is about the destiny that had brought together, two persons from two different surroundings, a plenty of odds that would tear them apart melting their burning passion, And then…the overcoming of the preponderating fields of hurt, rejection and fragile egos which does their bit to bring out the truth about the intense feelings they have for each other, which shape up the unvarnished highlight point of the climax. The restrained mood of the entire flick causes muted emotions, allowing for all the characters to be explored with subtlety and grace. There are no crude good guys or bad guys in the film, nobody is demonized or trivialized or one-dimensional. The keen beauty of the plot is that we would never ever realize why Deepthi, a typical village born uneducated housewife, puts away her so called, imbibed values and finds solace in an alcoholic desolate womanizer. The isolation and longing that makes her a schizophrenic is also presented subtly than being loud. The director does not resort to quick resolutions of tension throughout the film, nor he makes attempts to sit on judgment on the choices of the characters and none of the players are justified for their deeds. He slowly lets us look deep into the soul of his characters, especially that of the morally fractured Deepthy who starts pooja many times a day but seems to be doing so only to argue with the god to rescue herself from the turmoil of suppressed desires. Shyamaprasad must be applauded for maintaining a narrative that could have easily been vulgarized.
In this story of love and lust which has been given life by two of the finest actors in Indian cinema, Mammootty and Meera Jasmine, the performances are the highlights. The film relies heavily on the simmering chemistry of Mammootty and Meera onscreen, and the compositions and background scores of Ouseppachan that linger in the background. Muthuraj’s uncluttered art design even while dealing with clutters of daily life and Kuku Parameshwaran’s wardrobes speak louder than words while Azhagappan’s photography and moodily lit interiors contribute to the international feel and essence of narrative.
Ore Kadal will surprise even those who have seen Mammootty’s wonderful performances earlier, which fetched him many national accolades. They will be stunned to watch him in passionate intimate scenes done with meticulous skills of a seasoned actor who burn the screen as an unfussy womanizer, screaming his ideals. He manages to perfectly convey the idea of a sexy, loner who is ultimately indifferent to his lover’s emotional needs or demands for loyalty. He seems so natural when losing out to dimming pub lights and reaching out to Bela, to seek solace from the inner tempest. He is content to use his raw sexuality to overcome, if any flaws in his character. His lusty and indifferent nature and looks of a man caught in the perplexity of a forlorn city where his queries remain unanswered, is convincing. Meera is at her best as Deepthy, conveying the subtle emotions with ease. The trauma of the housewife who has reached a point of no return, and the very dangers of regressing back to one’s family to find a way out, and the possibility of another developing psychosis, is all safe in her hands. It’s that combination of hopeless but subtle resistance and sheer desperation that make Meera’s Deepthy (both the actor and the character) more appealing than a short summary can illustrate. The other surprise package is Ramya Krishan as Bela, giving a butterball sweetness she rarely had in previous incarnations in Malayalam. Narain appears different as a helpless victim, a mystified spouse who gets entangled unknowingly between the two lead players, and plays his part to perfection.
Ore Kadal is undoubtedly the best from Shyam so far. But it is not a movie that will be seen by a large audience, because it cannot be pitched to one, as it is all restraintment and melancholy.