I went to watch Oru Nadigayin Vakkumoolam with some trepidation. Not the least because the trailers, posters and the ominous title (translated Confessions of an Actor) left me unimpressed, but because I like Sonia Agarwal as an actress.

Though Sonia returned to the screen after a long hiatus with Vaanam, she proved she hadn't lost touch with acting. I felt it was just a matter of time before she landed another big role. But Oru Nadigayin…'s Anjali just isn't it.

 Titles roll over a collage of movie clips and some shots on the sets of Oru Nadigayin…, as Mano sings ‘Cinema cinema' with gusto. A coy Sonia Agarwal smiles at you, and the image is graphically shattered. Soon your expectations follow suit.

Anjali, an actor at the peak of her career, disappears without a trace. Off to track her and in the process bring unparalleled fame to SG TV is Chief Reporter Reeta, played by “Punnagai Poo” Geetha. Reeta traces Anjali to a madam in a remote place. The former screen idol is incognito, dressed in ochre, wearing mascara and pink lipstick. She hands the reporter a notebook, covered in brown paper, which contains her autobiography. The rest of the movie is what Reeta reads from the notebook.

Anjali's memoirs have been written on the casting couch. Anjali has been, as Reeta finds, exploited by directors, politicians and a producer. All along, her mother Girija (Urmila) and uncle Datchinamurthy (Sukran, best known for his role as Vikram's friend in Dhill) leech off her.

The theme is old and heavy. Further, Raj Krishna's heavy-handedness reduces Anjali's character to an automaton, stripping it of complex emotions, save desperation and sorrow.

 The script is weak and the dialogues repetitive. Anjali says “I am not a money-making machine. I have feelings too” at least four times during the movie. The term ‘machine' is replaced with synonyms in Tamil such as ‘enthiram'. Over-the-top dialogues marked by words such as ‘self-sacrifice' only make things worse. Sample this: a shunned director curses Anjali and her mother for their “guru-droham”. It was he who first put Anjali on the casting couch.

 Athish's music is nothing to write home about. It comes alive only in the song, ‘Don't touch me'. The background score is out of sync.

 A little into the movie, a rather strange familiarity in style strikes you. The violet lipstick, chandelier earrings, snaking bindis and the overworked saris that Anjali's mother sports, leaves me wondering whether I am watching a mega-serial on the big screen.  

Viewed in this context, you come to the conclusion that it is Urmila and Sukran who hold the movie together. Sukran's unapologetic greed is conveyed without hesitation. The other men in the movie are mere add-ons. They only make me wish ‘Jithan' Ramesh, who does a peppy ‘Kuthu' number early on in the movie, comes back. 

‘Kovai' Sarala as Papi, a producer's mistress, is the show-stealer. Her liveliness pushes the rest of the cast to the corner of the frame. Manobala's digs at Tamil cinema are enjoyable. Ganja Karuppu is wasted in an insignificant role.

Oru Nadigaiyin Vaakkumoolam

Genre: Drama

Director: Raj Krishna

Cast: Sonia Agarwal, Sukran, Kovai Sarala, Ganja Karuppu, Urmila, Manobala, Sadan, Kapil, Jyothilakshmi

Storyline: A village belle rises to stardom, but is relentlessly exploited.

Bottomline: Sonia Agarwal isn't back yet.

 

Keywords: Film review

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