In Harikumar's Sadgamaya, Navya Nair plays Yamuna, a girl getting all set to be married. She receives a letter from Unni Nedungadi (Jagathy) assistant to Dr. Ravi Verma, who had brought her back to life when a brief bout of insanity had threatened to unsettle her. On Unni's request, she travels to meet her doctor who had promised her that he would write only in the most critical of circumstances.
One is repeatedly reminded of Sibi Malayil's Thaniyavarthanam that sketched the progressive disintegration of a schizophrenic man; a work that bore the remarkable stamp of its writer Lohithadas all over. The intensity that made the former film an exciting, though disturbing watch, can never be detected in Sadgamaya. Lohi himself ventured into the unsure realms of a battered individual's mind years later through Bhoothakkannadi, and gave us another gem. Why Sadgamaya fails to achieve this, is on account of the flimsiness in the narrative, and the several flaws in its script.
The film concerns itself with the disease as it is for the initial one hour. Yamuna repeatedly has hallucinations that starts off with her imagining herself as none less than Desdemona being strangled to death by Othello. She screams and runs along the college corridors and then starts seeing a vulture waiting to devour her.
The three major characters in the film - Yamuna, Ravi Verma and Jyothi - and their interactions with each other are often vaguely drawn, with very little detailing. There is no real blood, feeling and sensations in them, that would make them a part of the viewer's world.
Especially frail is the writing when it comes to the spousal relationship that exists between Ravi and Jyothi (Shwetha Menon). The latter seems more like an adornment which becomes all too evident when the ever-neglected wife who has been complaining forever as to how her husband's official life has been eating into her life as well, suddenly breaks into a seductive song and disappears from the film shortly thereafter. The patient and her doctor share a special association as well, and the doctor who is no ordinary man keeps asking himself as to why the vulture keeps pestering the girl. He delves into her subconscious mind through a hypnotic procedure and discards electroconvulsive therapy and even therapeutic drugs. The reason that he finally arrives at is quite weird, and the treatment procedure is even weirder.
The last ten minutes of the film undoubtedly make up the best part, and though not exactly anticipated, the climatic twist is not entirely believable as well. Yamuna takes a life changing decision, and it would be probable when you think of the transformation that her doctor has brought about in her life. And yet, the loose ends remain untied.
The special effects in the film leave plenty to be desired. As much as one realizes that the focus on a film as this is more on the story than on the techniques used to deliver it, the vulture looks like a cut out from an amateur video. With a bit more polish, those scenes could have ended up looking infinitely more well done.
Navya delivers another decent performance and as the mentally deranged girl is as convincing as she possibly could be. Shwetha has very little to do in this film and Suresh Gopi as much as he tries hard, comes up with a very unconvincing performance that borders on the artificial. Clearly he seems to be on unfamiliar waters and it shows.
Sadgamaya might very well be an earnest attempt to make a solemn film. But the end product is cloudy, and all the angst associated with mental derangement that it hopes to take on is never eventually tackled.