Nadanna Sambhavam review: Biju Menon, Suraj Venjaramoodi movie not as progressive as one hoped - Hindustan Times
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Nadanna Sambhavam review: Biju Menon, Suraj Venjaramoodi movie not as progressive as one hoped

Jun 21, 2024 08:22 PM IST

Nadanna Sambhavam review: Given that we are debating about liberal feminism, LGBTQIA rights and toxic masculinity, Nadanna Sambhavam could have been much more.

Nadanna Sambhavam review: When a new family moves into a residential community or apartment, there is always curiosity amongst the neighbours as to how they are. What does the husband do? What’s the wife like? What’s their marriage like and so on. While some may get friendly with the new family, others may not but one thing is certain – gossip abounds. (Also Read: Parvathy Thiruvothu on her absence from Malayalam cinema: 'I did not go anywhere')

Nadanna Sambhavam review: Biju Menon, Suraj Venjaramoodi in a still from the film.
Nadanna Sambhavam review: Biju Menon, Suraj Venjaramoodi in a still from the film.

In Nadanna Sambhavam, director Vishnu Narayan and writer Rajesh Gopinadhan have given us a story that’s exactly about this kind of situation but with a twist that’s one relates to.

Nandanna Sambhavam story

Marine engineer Sreekumaran Unni (Biju Menon), his wife (Shruti Ramachandran) and daughter move into a new residential colony in Ernakulam where Ajith Neelakantan (Suraj Venjaramoodu) lives with his family. Unni and Ajith are diametrically opposite and the director established this fact right from the get go. While Unni is a warm, loving husband who does household chores and looks after the daughter, Ajith is the epitome of a chauvinistic macho man who thinks the wife (Lijo Mol Jose) should serve the man.

Unni being a marine engineer is on and off the ship and when at home, he becomes friendly with the women in the residential community. Ajith and his friends think with their male ego and soon his patriarchal beliefs start to affect his perception of Unni. The tension builds within Ajith and one day a verbal confrontation turns physical and the police are called in. The story then takes us through how men’s insecurities and perceptions affect them and those around them. And how not all men are the same.

Nandanna Sambhavam review

Vishnu Narayan and Rajesh Gopinadhan have tried to give us a story of gender stereotypes and the toxicity that results with a patriarchal and misogynistic mindset. Unni and Ajith are two different men and their different upbringing and experiences shape their characters and their relationships. The premise of this film is not really new and reminds us of films in the 90s where there was a large ensemble cast to showcase large families or a group of people in a colony (like director Visu’s Tamil films).

There are many characters in this film as well (a jilted lover, the cops and so on) who appear sporadically to push forward the narrative and the theme of this story. The audience will probably take sides with Unni for the modern man that he seems but Ajith is also a product of society and that’s the crux that the director and writer want to put out. They also bring into play how society – people around – also influence one’s mindset and perceptions and how this can damage your relationships, consciously or unconsciously. But hasn't this already been well documented now?

The performances

Malayalam actors Biju Menon and Suraj Venjaramoodi are good performers and they slip into their roles very easily delivering notable performances. Unfortunately, Shruti Ramachandran and Lijo Mol Jose haven’t been given strong, impactful roles by writer Rajesh Gopinadhan as they should have and that’s a letdown. Striking roles of women in such a male-centric drama would have enhanced the theme of gender stereotyping as well.

In conclusion

Writer Rajesh Gopinadhan believes that this movie will strike a debate in society (about male stereotypes) but given that we are debating today about liberal feminism, LGBTQIA rights and toxic masculinity, Nadanna Sambhavam could have been much more. On the whole, this drama is just timepass and not as progressive as it would like to be.

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