‘Nadikar’ movie review: Tovino Thomas stars in a flatly-written, superficial inward look at the film industry

A still from ‘Nadikar’ 

Advice on everything from acting to choosing the right script, and even the lens to shoot a particular scene fly thick and fast in Nadikar. For the amount of lessons on various aspects of filmmaking that fill the scenes, one would expect the makers to pay attention to what atleast some of the characters are saying. But then, they did not have the luxury of watching this film before they attempted to make one. In trying to make a film on the pitfalls awaiting a young superstar, the makers inadvertently end up falling into one.

David Padikkal (Tovino Thomas), the protagonist of Lal Jr.’s Nadikar, is someone struggling to handle fame after being anointed a superstar, following three consecutive hits. His hedonistic lifestyle as well as refusal to sharpen his limited acting skills means that soon he is on a downward spiral. As the future looks bleak, self-doubt gnaws at him. Padikkal’s arrogant behaviour on the sets does not help matters either.

For a few moments initially, as the usually boring ‘thanks’ cards roll in, one is taken in by the ingenuity of using it to chronicle the changes in the way the opening credits have been shown in movies over the years. But, this sadly happens to be one of the rare original thoughts that has gone into the movie, which becomes a rather superficial exploration of a superstar rediscovering himself.

Screenwriter Suvin S. Somasekharan’s treatment of the subject is so flat and lacking any major conflict points, that the film aimlessly trudges along like a beast sapped of all energy, despite all the pulsating background score and flashy camera work around it. One of the weakest passages happens to be the climax sequence… of the climax of a movie within the movie, which is a never-ending mediocre episode.

Nadikar

Director: Lal Jr.

Cast: Tovino Thomas, Divya Pillai, Soubin Shahir, Balu Varghese, Suresh Krishna, Bhavana, Anoop Menon

Duration: 140 minutes

Storyline: A Malayalam actor struggles to handle fame after being anointed a superstar and goes on a downward spiral

A tip to tap into his inner pain is one of the quick fixes that David gets from a well-wisher to improve his acting. But, this sob story from his childhood does not have the intended effect. Just like the rest of the film, the plight of the troubled superstar hardly ever emotionally moves the viewer. The whole project of turning him into a better human being, and by extension a better actor, does not appear organic. Lal Jr had pulled off a much better film on the tiff between a superstar and his fan in Driving License, but it had Sachy’s tight script working for it.

Suresh Krishna and Balu somewhat enlivens the proceedings, but without some solid writing, the film continues to struggle. Bhavana gets only a handful of scenes in yet another case of a Malayalam film not having a single female character of substance. One of the other things the film achieves is to spoil the classic Pink Floyd song Shine on You Crazy Diamond, words which appear as a tagline and in a song in the climax.

So much material lies around to be tapped, for a filmmaker taking an inward look at the industry and the star system. But, Nadikar barely skims the surface and itself ends up almost as a showcase of what ails the industry.

Nadikar is currently running in theatres

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