Sometimes a film comes along that promises a difference, though the promise itself has turned into a chestnut over the years. There are films that yearn to offer something distinctly new, and yet when they finally unfold on screen, they remain a far cry from what was probably originally conceived. Nanthuni is one such film that has a markedly different theme that gets seriously marred in its execution.
The film talks about Nanu Aasaan (Vijayaraghavan), a proficient Nanthuni player who is as good a medic as well. Much to the ire of the upper caste folks in the village, this 'Shoodran' with the magical remedies is said to have actually lived in a Valluvanad village years ago. Aasaan's daughter Radhamony (Midhuna) is in love with Viswanathan (Govindan Kutty), and it baffles everyone around that Aasaan opposes it with great vigor.
Nanthuni heavily banks on customs and traditions to set its backdrop. Nanthuni is invariably associated with the ritualistic worship of the goddess, and demands a sanctity of the highest order. We see Radhamony hollering at a young woman who attempts to touch the sacred musical instrument, and Aasaan follows it up with an explanation as to why he thinks his daughter is justified in her action.
It's this lack of purity that ultimately leads to Aasaan's demise, though it's his daughter who unintentionally brings about the blow. Left with no other choice, in a frantic bid to save a boy's life, she walks into the pooja room to get the medicines though her body is impure. The omens foretell a disaster that is to arrive, and soon a few men carry Nanu Aasaan home, for the man has had a paralytic stroke.
Thematically, Nanthuni is bound to generate diverse opinions. There would be people who totally distance themselves from it on account of their own beliefs. A few others might take to it more sympathetically, and judge it on its merits as a cinematic piece than dwell on it subjectively.
Cinematically though, Nanthuni fails to impress. There are several occasions when the film appears a bit too amateurish, and several other instances when it might even appear a bit confused. There are obvious compromises because of this confusion, like a song that involves plenty of water sport. It's neither here nor there, when ideally it should either be here or there, if you know what I mean.
Vijayaraghavan is a dependable actor for sure, and there isn't a moment in Nanthuni when he disappoints. Debutante Midhuna is quite impressive as well. Govindan Kutty could perhaps have opted for a better debut though. There is a wonderful melody sung by the incomparable G Venugopal that stands out in the film.
Despite interesting performances from its lead cast, Nanthuni lets sentiment rule over the spirit. Hence it appears a bit too dramatic, a bit too overwrought and a bit too less appealing.
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