There is a cardinal sin in any profession; more so in journalism and that is to pass your frustrations on to your writing, making it one whole. Smitha Sadanandan of “The Hindu” penned a film review on Nandanam on January 10, 2003.
This woman has been seriously wronged either by one of the film’s people (maybe one of them refused her an interview?) or she has a personal problem in her life and is taking the frustration out in her writng. Understandable, since she usually writes dull boring articles on Resident associations and filler articles in The Metro page. But this is not about her writing skills at all. This just goes on to show what a person, even if he/she is a journalist can do to mar a film’s prospect simply because he/she has no clue how to go about it.
There will be differences of opinion sure. A film that I love may seem pathetic to you. But there’s something called courtesy, which ladies and gentlemen is still around. A basic unwritten law in reviewing suspense films is not to divulge the ending even if you think the film was directed by an eleven year old. Smithaji has divulged the ending in Nandanam, which is a very very vital part of the movie. Not exactly a suspense thriller this movie but the ending is crucial. The funny thing is that even on then net (read uninhibited freedom) not a single reviewer, and there were plenty of amateurs, divulged the ending. Why are you a sadist, Smithaji? Ever read any review for “The sixth Sense”? Ever read anything that suggested what was going on in the movie and a detailed explanation of the last scene even by a critic who ridiculed the movie?
She claims that “Nakhakshthangal”, that poetic MT-Hariharan picture inspired director Ranjith.Both have the Guruvayoor temple as the background and a dusky village beauty as the main characters and of course some out of the world songs. Apart from that these two movies are as different as chalk and cheese. Lady, you CANNOT pass accusations and not support it, ok? Another cardinal principle of responsible journalism.
She also says with authority that “Nandanam” has employed a not-so-new-formula to rake in the bucks. Just a one liner will suffice for this. “All the stories have been told, it’s the way you tell them that counts”.
Smithaji really takes her movies very seriously. She rues the fact that “logic goes for a royalspin” and something about maids falling in love with well off dudes. I can’t comment on the latter coz she’s dissecting the movie’s ending and I don’t want to repeat her mistakes. But the best, the very best is reserved for Navya Nair. “Navya Nair is convincing as Balamani, but the Manju Warrier fixation is evident.” When I read that, I was reminded of a press conference by a dude in Trivandrum claiming that all earthquakes and train crashes in India were perpetuated by Pakistan using laser technology. Baba, you are just let speechless at such statements.
I can guess what has happened here, though. After Anand Parthasarathy left Trivandrum, the post for film reviewer has been left wide open. Smithaji desperately wants to impress her bosses. The irony of all this is that I went to see Nandanam solely coz of an earlier article in The Hindu commenting on a Different well made movie. That was after the premier of the movie, I presume. Another very funny thing, Nandanam has been almost universally acclaimed by critics. The majority of the people who saw the film too had good words for it too.Some people ,like me, attach a lot of importance to critic’s view .We usually decide to see or skip a movie based on what he/she has to say.I learned an important lesson here.Better to trust and go with a critic or fined who has similar tastes to you than blindly following what any Tom,Dick and Smitha has said on the matter.