"The Sea Within": A Man and a Woman By Anand Varala

in 12nd Kerala International Film Festival

by Anand Varala

Malayalam cinema is in transition, developing a new look. The days of masters such as Aravindan and Adoor are gradually vanishing into history. The new Malayalam filmmakers are leaning towards fast-paced dramatizations of their subjects, and many are concentrating on youthful issues for a post-globalization era.

In this scenario, the film The Sea Within (Ore Kadal) won the FIPRESCI award for 2007 in “Malayalam Today” section.

The Sea Within wonderfully explores the rich potential of cinema to tell a story that subtly combines love, relationship, economics, and the closeness and distance among people. The way the filmmaker tackles the sensitive subject of love between a learned economist and a naive housewife is fascinating. The film respects the value of love. Furthermore, the film takes an intense look at the emotional relationship between the man and woman.

Dr. S.R. Nathan is a learned economist, forever busy with his writings, meetings, seminars, and other work. His field of interest is fiscal and economic relations and development. An intellectual and a renowned economist in his field, Dr. Nathan does not believe in love and affection. He feels that all human relations are pragmatic, based on personal and financial need. He finds no value in love or emotion. He lives alone, works hard and is an alcoholic. He takes women to bed when he feels the physical need, but thinking no more of them.

But one day, he meets his neighbour Deepthi — a naïve, beautiful housewife — in the oddest of circumstances. Nathan helps her take her ailing son to hospital.

Later, she visits his apartment to thank him. She is impressed by his kindness, and the manner in which he lives. Later, at her request, Nathan helps Deepthi’s husband get a decent job. Deepthi’s admiration for her neighbour grows, gradually developing into love, and physical intimacy. When Deepthi becomes pregnant, she knows the baby is Nathan’s, but he denies it, and refuses any responsibility.

Deepthi finds herself anchored in the middle of a turbulent sea. She experiences a breakdown, and is committed to an asylum. Profoundly moved by the depths of Deepthi’s love, Nathan finally appreciates the value of real passion. He wants to see the recovered Deepthi, but she refuses, preferring to return to her husband and children. But she cannot forget Nathan, and circumstances conspire to lead her to find solace in his arms.

Ultimately the film ends with them on the threshold of human love, denying all the materialistic relationships.

With its deep-rooted, profound contemplation of human connection, along with the value it places on love and affection, the film creates a significant excitement in the audience. I liked the film for the way in which it presents a story that upholds human values.