The International Movie Review

A IndTiger.com venture

Swarnam – Strikes Gold

Posted by harino1 on May 14, 2008

Finally Kalabhavan Mani is back to a role, which has him in his elements, affably displaying his acting potential in ‘Swarnam’. The fourth movie by Venugopan is of course, the best from the director. Based on a solid script from S.Sureshbabu, ‘Swarnam’ weaves a story around men enmeshed in hatred, greed and prurience. The movie reminds you of some of the oldies of the Bharthan-Padmarajan era, particularly in the plot lines and in the deft touches and tonal intricacies.Of course, this is a movie that you can definitely be with for its fine craft, directorial control over the proceedings, and stupendous performance from a talented cast.

The movie tells the story of inhabitants of Chumrampathy- a small village along the banks of the Shiruvani River, who believes in the legend of a golden treasure that lies somewhere buried under water. From the time of Aachiyamma (Valsala Menon), the oldest of the clan, many have enterprises risking their lives into the Chavukayam in search of the gold, but in vain.

Divakaran (Kalabhavan Mani) grandson of Aachiyamma, a harsh man, never believed in the mythful fable, but tried other ways to make money. Being insensitive to other’s woes and needs, he was not even ready to look after his orphaned niece and wife Radha, but garnered money, penny by penny, to fulfill his objectives like buying a lorry for himself.

One day, Divakaran finds himself bare handed with all his money robbed off. This leads him to trying his luck once in the Chavukayam for gold. Even after trying for eighteen days, he couldn’t fetch a mentionable amount of fortune. In this juncture arrives a black magician who demands a five year old child as a ‘bali’ in exchange for loads of gold that is soon to be discovered on the river banks. Divakaran’s dislike to his niece, suddenly goes on a change, following this divination .Now his obsessions to wealth is set to lead him along a path, which will make him identify the locus of the original gold.

The highlight of the movie is definitely, the unassuming package of script lines, which avoids the normal pit holes, in its entire ride. In this straight forward narration of events, Sureshbabu has gracefully   avoided the formula stuff, except in the finale. The director Venugopan stays clear off the regular gimmicks but showcases his skills in steering the viewer’s emotions as desired.

The film has its flaws. It sometimes tries too hard to be   philosophical and piousful in its dialogues and some tear jerking sequences especially with the child (Baby Nayantara) ends up sounding bogus. The logic also goes for a toss in some sequences in the later half. The film’s pace slackens at intervals, mainly due to a lesser degree of lighter moments, as the focus is more on emotional content. And the continuous onslaught of sorrow and hopelessness may sometimes exasperate you.

The film’s substantial emotional impact depends largely on the performances. The smallest of cast member seems to know the job on hand. Kalabhavan Mani excels playing the hero and villain of the movie ‘Swarnam’ has created enough sequences that give   a platform for his performance.

Praveena in her comeback incredibly depicts the various shades of the character with amazing ease. Her calm face with plethora of emotions, sans make-up looks up at you with frankness and honesty — the perfect foil to the hero unidimensional hero.

Saloo George once again proved to be one of the best behind the camera, maintaining a singular dark tone throughout, suiting the mood of the movie. Mohan Sithara also proves effective particularly in the background scoring that sets the mood of the movie. No unnecessary fast-paced songs mar the tempo. Out of the five songs, there are a couple of hummable tunes.

A couple of fight sequences included is a natural bout of fisticuffs, without much irritating special effects and rope jumps.

‘Swarnam’ will please Kalabhavan Mani’s fans, but more certain is that, it won’t disappoint others either.

Definitely, a watchable film.

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