He is the director who won five awards including the National Award for 1940 Lo Oka Gramam. Since it fetched him honour and no money, he followed it up with a soft porn High School that got him enough money but ruffled many feathers. Narasimha Nandi now is back with a sensible story again with his favourite period, the early Fifties as background. This film has been adapted from Tilak’s Oori Chivara Illu and Nandi Nandi stretches the story to an additional 15 minutes testing the patience of the viewers. Has he learnt to fine tune his film after 1940 Lo Oka Gramam, are there still glaring gaps between one dialogue and the other and has it been targeted for a mainstream audience or is it again a story meant for the film festivals and taking home a huge haul of awards?
The storyline is simple. One had earlier watched umpteen times a bespectacled or a very ordinary looking man walk into a sex worker’s room, become a patient listener to her sob story, fall in love, walk away leaving some currency under her pillow or some hand written note as she wakes up to a rude reality? Well, Kamalatho Na Prayanam is almost similar. On a stormy night, Suryanarayana (Sivaji) is hunting for a childhood friend and a place to stay and he is led into Kamala’s (Archana) home. Keeping guard to the house is an old woman (Pavala Shyamala) who ensures that Kamala is kept busy. We are treated to the character sketches of the three people here.
Kamala with a tired body and soul is aspiring for freedom, she loves to soak in the rain, sing and dance and be a free spirit, play a musical instrument. She considers all the men who visit her to be alike and Surya is a man with progressive thinking. He is probably the first man to treat her like a human being and they talk their heart out. He takes her along in search of his friend but after getting to know he is no more leaves her at her place and goes to his friend’s grave. When he returns he is devastated to learn that Kamala has yet again gone to another man. What happens to Kamala after that forms the crux of the story.
The entire film is shot in the rain to show the mood of the story and the characters. The setting is very believable and cinematography captures the locations and ambience vividly. Dialogues are in tune with the times for instance words like Indha (for Idhigo) was used. Pavala Shyamala was perfect in her work, she tells Kamala, “Neethi tappakoodadhu kaani oka sari tappithe yenti vandha sarlu tappithe yenti?” Many scenes were incorporated to fill the spaces, dialogues are dramatic and the pace slow. Archana and Sivaji are okay but they didn’t quite fit into the period drama, both sounding bit awkward in their costumes and dialogues. Finally, the director’s attempt to show the writer’s thinking that ‘Kamala’, a lotus despite staying in murky waters stands pure and beautiful, could have been handled better.
KAMALATHO NA PRAYANAM
Cast: Sivaji, Archana
Direction: Narsimha Nandi
Music: Kishan Kavadia
Plot: A sex worker’s ambition to lead a normal life
Genre: Period drama
Bottomline: The length and the snail’s pace puts one off