varnachitram

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Preview: Nottam

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In the 2005 Kerala State Film Awards, the film which swept the awards for Music was Nottam. For this film, Ponkunnam Damodaran got the award for the best lyricist, M. Jayachandran and K.S.Chitra won the awards for the best male and female singers. If you have not listened to the songs, Mayangi Poyi and Melle, you should do it right now. This movie has one more beautiful song, Pacha Panam Thatte in two versions, one by Yesudas and one by Chitra.

This movie, directed by Sasi Paravoor uses the backdrop of the artform Koodiyattam to tell a story. Koodiyattam, a form of Sanskrit drama is considered to be created by Kulasekhara Varma Cheraman Perumal. Koodiyattam is presented by Chakyars and Nangyars (Nambiar women) and Mizhav and Idakka are the two instruments used.

On the surface it’s a story of a Chakyar who realizes the immense possibilities for him and his art when he starts a website and conducts a performance tour abroad. There is more to this transition than new opportunities and money. It’s a constant tug-of-war between the commitment of a tradition-bound community and the loud-mouthed non-resident Indian (NRI) for whom a few signatures and dollar bills carry more weight.The pace of the film and the music have all maintained the restraint and unhurried calm of the community. In sharp contrast to this tranquillity is the excited, agitated, hurried countenance of Menon uncle (Janardhanan) for whom its money that talks and the Chakyars are mere exhibits to be flaunted abroad as ethnic chic. [ When two worlds met]

This movie stars Nedumudi Venu, Jagathi Sreekumar, M.R.Gopakumar and Margi Sathi. Margi Sathi is a real Nangiarkoothu performer and it was her first acting experience which turned out be a tragedy in itself.

Tenacity, grit, courage must have been part of her personality, as she is trained in Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattom and Koodiyattom in Kerala Kalamandalam. She, however, chose to focus her energies on Nangiarkoothu, at a time when audience appreciation and understanding about the art form was at a low ebb. That these qualities continue to be the source of strength for this artiste who places her dedication and duty above all else was proved yet again, when she donned greasepaint, without giving herself the time to recover from the grief of losing her husband, Subramaniam Potti, who was electrocuted on the sets on `Nottam.’ In fact, the film has been dedicated to his memory.[ Doyenne of Koodiyattom

We usually complain that most Malayalam movies are either Mimicry movies or one which has an All Sacrificing BrotherTM, hence it is refreshing to see movies which don’t fall into that genre. In this trend, Nottam falls into the same category as Mohanlal’s Vanaprastham which used Kathakali as the backdrop for a tragic story.

See Also: Jo’s rendition of Pacha Panam Thatthe

4 Comments

  1. Pingback: varnachitram » Blog Archive » The Best Actor in Malayalam

  2. Pingback: varnachitram » Blog Archive » Review Roundup: Nottam

  3. Nottam is only just a above average film Mr Sasi Paravoor had todo much more homework

  4. Good story, but the only problem is the music took from the old version.

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