Friday, May 24, 2024

Nadikar movie review: Tovino Thomas’ good performance let down by weak script

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Malayalam star Tovino Thomas’ Nadikar, his second film release this year, is a meta flick that goes behind the scenes of a film and showcases the turbulent life of a movie superstar. Directed by Jean Paul Lal aka Lal Jr, Nadikar revolves around superstar David Padikkal (Tovino Thomas) and takes us into a world which the audience doesn’t have access to and shows us how stardom can be a heavy cross to bear at times. Such meta films are always fascinating for viewers because information that comes in the form of movie gossip is just that, whilst these are more gripping thanks to pieces of truth woven into the story. But does Tovino Thomas’ Nadikar live up to the expectations? (Also Read | Tovino Thomas exclusive interview: ‘I’m not in cinema just to make money’)

Tovino Thomas in a still from Nadikar.

The movie opens with a tribute to the yesteryear Malayalam films and an interview of actor Prem Nazir who says that an actor’s life is not a bed of roses and is tough. It cuts to present-day, and superstar David Padikkal who flits from one film to another till his stardom becomes all about drugs, women and parties.

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Nadikar plot

After a hat-trick of flops, David’s manager Paily (Suresh Krishna) manages to snag him a film with a big director, Koshy. However, David’s insolence and arrogance end up getting him to walk out of the project, and he finds himself crashing. The star in him believes that his acting skills are unsurpassed, but the actor in him tells him he is failing. Taking Paily’s advice, David agrees to get on board an acting coach, Balu (Soubin Shahir). What ensues are ego issues and conflicts between the two. Is Balu able to help David regain his superstar status and sharpen his acting skills? What happens to David’s sinking career?

Nadikar’s script, climax

Nadikar was scripted by Suvin S Somasekharan, and while the concept is brilliant, the writing is weak and tedious. The complex emotional arc that superstar David Padikkal undergoes is not captured well, and some instances narrated from his reel/real-life feel shallow. Thus, it doesn’t emotionally connect with the audience. The film feels superficial since it doesn’t dig deep into David’s psyche, which would have otherwise elevated the film to a great extent. For instance, when David talks emotionally about his mother, the scene suddenly turns flippant. And the climax was a let-down, too.

Beyond a point, the relationship between David and Bala takes centre stage, but one is not truly convinced of how this arrogant superstar becomes a better actor and human being as a result of it. Sadly, Nadikar is a great opportunity lost for the writer and director as it could have been a gripping inside story of a star had they decided to scratch the surface. Overall, only some scenes really stand out (like David calling his ex-girlfriend when he hits rock bottom), and yes, humour has been added disjointedly to evoke some laughs.

Tovino Thomas’s performance in Nadikar

When it comes to performances, Tovino Thomas as David Padikkal elevated the weak script with his effortless performance. The actor smoothly eases in and out of the ups and downs of a superstar. Soubin Shahir as Bala was a different casting choice, and that is also what makes his character interesting and fresh. Bhavana’s role (she plays an actor) could have been more defining in David’s life, but unfortunately, she just appears in a few scenes.

Nadikar tries to narrate the cathartic process that David Padikkal undergoes to become better at what he does and who he is. For Tovino Thomas, who likes to experiment with his roles, essaying David Padikkal would have been relatable and a cakewalk, given that he’s a star himself. For director Lal Jr and writer Somasekharan, who sought to introspect about the film industry, which they are a part of, Nadikar could have been much more than what it is.



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