Monday, June 20, 2016

സ്വപ്നാടനം (Swapnadanam) (1976)

Director: K.G. George
Writers:  K.G. George, Pamman
Cinematographer: Ramachandra Babu
Cast:         Dr. Mohandas, Rani Chandra, Woman
Language: Malayalam

A guy turns up in Madras in a very fragile mental state. He ends up with a psychiatrist who subjects him to Narco-analysis, through which we learn about his past, background and his marriage.

Narco-analysis in a 1976 malayalam film- Yeah, you read that right!! The protagonist is a doctor who is sort of bought off by his uncle as an husband for his daughter. And there is a lost love from campus that haunts him. Mohanlal starrer 'Pakshe' had a similar premise but the major difference is that unlike that film, the characters in this are not binary. When you apportion blame in this film for the state of their marriage, both husband and wife gets it in equal measure. The basic story is quite universal and timeless and so the film hasn't aged one bit. One minor gripe would be the performances which can sometimes seem a bit dramatic. But when you consider the time the film came out, it must have still been revolutionary in all aspects including acting. There is a tendency among Malaylees  to water down the influence of Mohanlal and Mammooty by saying that they just got lucky with the directors that they could work with. The thing is, without the naturalism that they bought as protagonists, amply supported by a huge array of great supporting actors, their films wouldn't have become this great and that too with commercial appeal.

Swapnadanam was K.G. George's directorial debut and it won the state and national awards for best malayalam film that year. Dialogue delivery by the protagonist is at its acerbic best and it turns out that K.G himself dubbed for that part. Overall, it is a great watch with some surreal dreamscape imageries thrown in as well. It is ludicrous to learn that this film was a commercial success as well and I guess the Malayalee audience were not brainless bunch of pricks back then.

Rating: 4.5/5