Forgetfulness rules the very being of the poet, the life of whom P Balachandran's 'Ivan Megharoopan' chronicles. We would never know if the memory that keeps evading the man was deliberately kept off the bounds of his consciousness, nor would we know the man that he really was, for he was made of the stuff that clouds were made of, and never left footprints on the sand.
As seen through the eyes of the several women whose lives he walked into and out of in no time, the poet's bohemian life appears as one that had defied all conventions. What is extremely appealing about the film as such are the aforementioned open ends that it leaves around by design that ensures that it ends up being neither prejudiced nor judgmental.
K P Madhavan Nair, the man, poet and teacher, is thus unraveled through his unbridled interactions with the women around him on whom he seems to have been able to have cast a spell of sorts. They end up being no more than winged termites that lose their wings after their mating, and live miserable lives lost in the haunting memories of a man whom they had fallen dismally in love with.
The poet does remind us that creativity isn't an easy thing to be maintained, and perhaps alarmed and overwhelmed by the tremendous potentials that he could foresee in his wife Saraswathi Amma (Jayapriya) as a writer, tries to smother her vision as subtly as he possibly can. Envy does overpower him, but he is a simple man at heart, who very soon realizes his folly and who falls sobbing at his wife's feet to seek forgiveness.
The women who fall prey to Nair's charms have only one thing in common - their unparalleled love for the man. Saraswathi Amma very soon settles down to a life where she hopes to hunt out happiness forfeiting everything else, and drips the very last drop of her fountain pen ink onto the stream. She is willing to give up everything including her very self for a man who would soon walk away from her into the darkness, never to return again.
It's another land and another time altogether where Nair meets Ammini (Padmapriya) for whom he says he has brought black glass bangles. He hands out a few chunks of rock sugar and peanut candies instead to her after fishing around his pockets for a while. Ammini finds his sheepish grin endearing, and off she goes on a ride with him on his bicycle. He doesn't think twice before agreeing to marry her and leaves fixing a date, only to arrive at the place years later.
Nair does marry Thankamony (Anumol) though, the girl who could bring huge freshwater trouts to splash around on her mud walls with her melodious voice. The folk singer has a way with nature, as she has with the poet, and her song sets peacocks dancing in all their splendor, while water lilies peep out from under the still night waters, all eager to bloom. Grabbing her by the arm, Nair leads her out into a world where she believes freedom exists, but upon his desertion finds the idyllic world that she had dreamed of being replaced by one that is beset with bitterness and gloom.
Despite his mother's words ringing in his ears that a marriage could lead a man from riches to rags or the other way round, he gets married to Ammini later, and keeps his promise. And it's here that we get to see him acknowledge a loss of memory for the very first time. Ammini is one who is quick to learn from her folly, and makes a frantic attempt to tie him down with a teacher job at a local school. In one of the finest moments in the film, she admits that she has started hating his poetry, ever since the poet has become her own.
Even as the poet intrudes into the hearts of these women, instinctively dismantling their lives in the process, there are others occupying the outer environs of his existence as well. The fresh graduate Rajalekshmi (Remya Nambeesan) is disgusted by the love letter that the middle aged man pens for her and even threatens to reveal the story of his insatiable libido to the world. In sharp contrast to the young woman are the seductresses Chinnammalu (Sunitha Nedungadi) and Kousalya (Surabhi) who flirt with him unabashedly and Maya Maheshwari (Swetha Menon) who lives up to her name and almost seems like a gorgeous spirit that could assume different forms to entice a man.
Nair seeks moksha from the teaching job that he admits had started boring him to death. The era when his poetry had flowered all over had started slowly ebbing away. The man who would seek blessings from all and sundry who passed him by is startled by a small girl who touches his feet. Her fingers prompt an introspection and he realizes with a shudder that his life is being lived by someone else and that forgetfulness is death itself.
P Balachandran's biopic is warmly sympathetic to its protagonist. The director's portrayal of the renowned poet reveals a man who is seldom in control of his emotions; a man who battles with his life to merely live it the way he wants to. As it moves steadily towards the inevitable tragic finale, the indisputably flawed, but impressive personality emerges from the shadows.
The film belongs to Prakash Bare, and his luminescent performance that puts in the right amounts of mirth, gloom and life itself, helps him capture the poet that he plays with aplomb and move far beyond a mere impersonation. Padmapriya, Swetha Menon and Remya Nambeesan are all remarkably good, and yet it's Anumol who comes up with an exceptionally nuanced feat. Rajeev Ravi has crafted an almost magical world for the poet to live in, while Sharreth's spellbinding musical score considerably adds to the hypnotic quality of the film.
'Ivan Megharoopan' is a biographical tale that carefully keeps the dreariness that one habitually associates with biographies at bay. It is full of life, and the vivaciousness that pervades the narrative lets the dazzling sparkle on this character study remain right on place.