Sandhya Rani and Mansore’s film discusses the idea of consent and the significance of ‘no’, which is very new to mass-film loving audiences.

Nathicharami review This Sruthi Hariharan starrer explores a widows sexualityScreenshot from 'Nathicharami' trailer
Flix Sandalwood Friday, December 28, 2018 - 20:25

A large section of Indian society still considers sex a taboo subject and when people talk about it, especially women, they are looked down upon. Women’s sexual desires have always been misunderstood. Women are often labelled, slut-shamed and called names when they ‘ask for it’ and are made to feel guilty for it. Director Mansore, with the Nathicharami trailer, had set the tone straight. There is a widow in the film, and she asks for it, without commitment, and yeah, she’s not ashamed of it.

Gowri (Sruthi Hariharan) is a successful career woman who leads a team in an IT firm. She is unable to forget her husband Mahesh (Poornachandra Mysuru), who was killed in an accident about three years ago. She has everything, but deep inside she is lonely. She hates the very suggestion of remarriage proposed by her parents and friends as she is still deeply in love with Mahesh – made evident by lots of photos and wind chimes adorning her house. After an outburst at work, her colleague suggests that she visit psychiatrist Dr Carvaloh (Balaji Manohar). Dr Carvaloh, who seems to be based on Dear Zindagi’s Jug (played by Shah Rukh Khan), counsels her to lead an active sex life and to consider it a natural act. After giving it much thought, Gowri decides to free herself from her own shackles. Gowri befriends Suresh (Sanchari Vijay), a civil engineer just like her husband, who attends the same morning exercise sessions as her in a park. The rest of the plot takes the film down an interesting path.

Nathicharami is undoubtedly the boldest attempt in Sandalwood so far. The film’s treatment is simple and engaging, but the narrative is slow making it likely to appeal only to film festival and art film buffs.

The casting is faultless. Sruthi conveys everything with so much simplicity. Even when she is not narrating a dialogue, she still communicates with her eyes. Her costumes, which make her look the part, deserve a special mention. Though a majority of the scenes involve Sruthi, every single character leaves an impression on the audience. The handsome Poornachandra shines in the small role. Saranya, with a small yet significant role, wins hearts. The way she expresses her desires as a sexually unsatisfied wife deserves applause. Then there is Shweta the maid, who leaves an impact with her imperfect life. Sanchari Vijay fits the role of an arrogant, disgruntled husband seeking solace impeccably.

The dialogues sound a bit too preachy and Carvaloh’s character could have been more original and better. The film has a great background score by Bindu Malini. The songs are soothing, but the lyrics sound repetitive as most of them talk about physical desires and wielding control over them.

Sandhya Rani and Mansore’s film discusses the idea of consent and the significance of ‘no’, which is very new to mass-film loving audiences. We can only hope that this movie opens new avenues to explore such topics in films. The movie is a must-watch, if you can sit through the slow pace.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film’s producers or any other members of its cast and crew.

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