Shalabam – It doesn’t have much to say about
Posted by harino1 on March 21, 2008
Salabham doesn’t belong to any genre. Not even to the genre which challenges the established genres. Perhaps it can be called, rather force-fit into, a “menofilm”, which never shaped up into one category at any circuit.
At the most it only has the steam that can be pressed into a thirty-minute short film. Without much to say, this old fashioned film doesn’t offer anything engrossing in all the ninety minutes. In fact, the film has labored to reach the ninety-minute mark with a couple of songs, which are totally unwanted.
The movie has a plot which is thinner than the wings of Salabham, a butterfly. It’s about the journey of a young girl into a delayed womanhood or puberty. The myths about late menstruation passed down by mothers, aunts, storytellers and community leaders from generations to generation, form the backdrop of the story.
In the movie, Meera, living with her single mother, suffers from developmental disorders. She finds it difficult to cope up with the delay in attaining womanhood. The friends of her age, incoming proposals for marriage and the neighbors… all aggravate her agony. She desires to be like others, desires to fly like a butterfly. But she can’t. She keeps all the menacing sorrows to herself, creating emotional turmoil.
The narrative makes it a point to keep the actual problem subdued; dragging the proceedings further and it takes some time to move forward in the first half. There is an attempt to keep this suspense alive, but this too falls flat. With nothing more to offer in the storyline in the later half, the viewers are left to wait until the girl attains puberty, for the film to sign off.
Maadambu in the screenplay couldn’t reach out to what was expected from such a film, with a rarest plot while director Suresh Palancherry shows his sparkles of directorial abilities in a few sequences. The other highlight of the film is the acting departments, majority consisting of relatively fresh faces who lived up to the demands of the characterizations. Remya Nambeeshan also fares better in the title role as Meera. Infact it is her best on screen performance , till date. Another special applause must go to Deepankuran for the careful background scoring and to cinematographer M J Radhakrishnan who is sure to excel in any given conditions. It is really pathetic that such a talented cinematographer, who has proved himself in more than fifty films, is never offered one big film in which he can work with out any budgeting compromises.
In regular intervals, a song written and set to music by Kaithapram pops up, to fill the screen time. Altogether there are four songs in this ninety minute fare. With too many unnecessary songs and no single clear cut comments on the topic, the very purpose why this movie was made stands void. It cannot be a shame for the audience, not to be in the cinema halls to witness such outdated plot lines.