CINEMAPriyanandanan's new film, Bhakthajanangalude Sraddhakku, deals with topical issues
In the entertainment industry, what happens if every movie that is released is slapstick? Or, serious tragedies, or issue-based ones, one after another? Or cloying romance, in a line? Yes, we would all get bored.
So every movie has space, as everyone wants a mixed entertainment experience. The different genre of Priyanandanan's fourth directorial venture, ‘Bhakthajanangalude Sraddhakku' gets into an interesting bracket. It's a satire, the parallels not very difficult to gauge.
Two burning issues that rock Kerala are locked into ‘Bhakthajanangalude Sraddhakku'. One is the trend to build empires around godmen and godwomen and the other, the problem of alcoholism, and how lives are ruined. Intertwined with these two topical issues is the global issue of corruption, which plays a side role in the movie.
Priyanandanan tells it straight, there are no sub-plots to distract you. Neither is the narrative made complex by flashbacks or incomprehensible cinematic grammar. Why this subject? Says Priyanandanan, “This fad of going behind godmen is something that's happening all over Kerala and I felt the masses needed to be told about the goings on inside these institutionalised places, and the misconceptions, whatever the religion. Piety is something very different. What better way to drive home this point than cinema?”
Religion and complications that develop in connection with it seem to dog Priyanandanan's movies. In ‘Sufi Paranja Katha', his last film, it was a case of a woman married to a man from a different religion and the role played by faith, inculcated at an early age into a person. In ‘Bhakathajanangalude Sraddhakku', again it is faith, but born of superstition and mob psychology. Alcoholism is the catalyst that takes the story to its climax.
The low budget movie is to be seen, digested and pondered over. Kavya Madhavan plays the central character, a role that is the envy of any actor, where a plethora of emotions come into play. She has done fairly well, but could have done much better.
Irshad, who plays the lead, who came in from the stage, steals the show. Untouched by the stylised body language of the stage, Irshad has taken to the cinematic language of ordinary behaviour well. “I was able to use the potential of Irshad only because the producer allowed me to cast him, an actor who has had to play small roles so far,” says Priyanandan. The cast of ‘Bhakthajangalude Shraddakku' includes Indrans, Kalabhavan Mani, Vanitha, Geetha Vijayan and a host of small time actors who have given their best. The story that keeps its freshness and purposefulness alive till the fag end suddenly turns melodramatic in the finale. Bijibal's background score is commendable and the sound track has freshness. The three songs contribute to the narration, one will agree.
Priyanandanan, who has a staunch stage background, has proved his mettle with his earlier movies. ‘Pulijanmam' bagged the National award for the Best Feature Film in 2006 and its protagonist was Murali. Murali won the National Award for Best Actor for his performance in ‘Neythukaran', also Priyanandanan's film.