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Twilight Zone

STORY, SCREENPLAY AND DIRECTION— R Sarath

 
Published: Saturday 30 June 2001

-- PRABHANJAN VERMA

The film is a critical analysis of the left wing stand in Kerala on the sensitive nuclear arms issue. It portrays the tug-of-war between the official party line that has fallen prey to jingoism and a veteran Marxist who kills his conscience at the behest of his own people, impeccably played by the protagonist. Probing different human relationships, the film minutely studies the dilemma faced by the protagonist in the form of people, places and events that force him to forego his own views regarding the nuclear issue.

'Sayahnam' is the story of K K Madhavan, a peace-loving socialist thinker and a veteran leader who is revered for his enlightening views on the party's policy and national affairs and whose writings find a regular place in all the dailies and journals. With a supportive wife, a scientist son and grandchildren Madhavan is a proud father and a happy man. The son and father have an estranged relationship because of their conflicting stands regarding nuclear weapons. The film tries to depict the mute emotions of an aged leader struggling to come to terms with the contradictions lying in his heart. His other son Vinayan and his wife Volga represent the forces of globalisation. Much to Madhavan's disquiet, Amala, his grand-daughter, is drawn to the modern fads of Volga, which depresses him.

He however continues his crusade against nuclear weapons but is pressurised by the party to change his stance. Finding himself isolated, as his own son, his party and the public turn against him he gives in to the party line and publishes an article on the inevitability 'of counter wars'. His conscience bleeds as the world around him celebrates nuclear tests in his country. Unable to withstand the shock he succumbs to the inevitable.

The high point of the film is the lead role played by O Madhavan. His histrionic skills force one to draw parallels between the character and E M S Namboodripad.

The film has won many awards including the coveted Indira Gandhi National Award 2000 for best debut film and special jury award of Asianet Film Awards 2001.

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