'Naradan' movie review: When television channels assume judge's role

Tovino plays the lead in the movie, 'Naradan'

"We have courts here to do that..."

The character played by Indrans says this towards the climax of the movie 'Naradan' chastising the media trial culture and that sums up the essence of the movie. The premise of the movie is positioned exactly the way the movie promotions have displayed - the inside view of broadcast establishments with its channel tussles, competitions, sting operations, rifts and egos.

Writer Unni R deftly manoeuvrers a balancing act by showing the twin sides of the news media houses - one which treads the path of true journalism thriving on ethics and newsworthiness and the other engaging solely in rivalry and business brinkmanship. Director Aashiq Abu, however, manages to tilt the ship more towards the evil shade of media business.

Tovon Starrer Naradan Movie poster

Chandraprakash is the senior journalist of News Malayalam channel. He is constantly under pressure from his boss to get sensational news to remain the prime channel. When he discovers that he is unjustifiably pitted against a more competent journalist, Pradeep John, he decides to make the moves that can catapult him to the zenith of a TV journalist's career. How does he do that is the storyline all about.

Tovino in Naradan
Tovino Thomas in 'Naradan'

When a movie from a director of Aashiq Abu's merit arrives, a lot is expected. Whether it's taking undue advantage of access to highly placed sources, unfairly curtailing a channel guest's arguments, adopting wayward methods of creating the news, journalists' plight and other nitty-gritty issues there could have been numerous plots to depict them more artistically.

But the creators had a single-minded approach to the subject and in doing so, only one side of the topic is revealed. Whether the aim was just to deal a heavy blow on the irksome channel discussions and deafening verbal spats and diatribes, or thorough research in other areas in broadcast journalism has been purposefully ignored remains unclear. There are a plethora of topics, poignant and trivial, which could have been touched upon for a satiating entertainer in this premise. More so, because there are not many movies that have tapped the prospects of journalism and media as a film subject.

Instead, 'Naradan' ended up beating around the bush and turned out preachy and judgemental. In the process, it stood exposing the wide gaps for want of content.

The cacophony in some channels and the nefarious means to deliver news has been deftly plotted. Tovino has been an absolute winner in masquerading as the ambitious and arbitrary Chandraprakash. Though he fell short of imbibing the body language of a TV presenter he adequately absorbed the psychology of the character.

The movie after a certain distance coasts towards the judicial arena to emphatically cross-examine the rights of media on incisive journalism. Citing different contexts the arguments draw various sections of the IPC to shed light on the limitations and privileges of media while pursuing news stories.

Sharafudheen as Pradeep John steals the show as a talented journalist. He represents hundreds of media persons on the brink of penury yet pursuing true journalism. Anna Ben as Shaakira Mohammed proves her mettle as a true performer within the space she has been allotted.

Sharafudheen as Pradeep John in 'Naradan'

Joy Mathew tightly follows the character Shivadas Kurup, chief editor of News Malayalam. Meanwhile, Kunchan as Gurudasan, Minister of Finance, Vijayaraghavan as Babuji and Renji Panicker as Govinda has nothing much challenging in the sketch of their characters. The sequences featuring Indrans are inarguably marvellous. The poise and depth the actor lends to the character are awesome indeed.

Balachandran Chullikkad, Raghunath Paleri, Jayaraj Warrier, Dileesh Nair, Jaffer Idukki, Lukman make no impact.

While narrating the vices and virtues of media, the makers could have also touched upon the influence of big names in the movie industry on their contacts in media in promoting their films and scaling up their ratings. Since media and the show business have a symbiotic existence, such a reference could have made the film more balanced.

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