Indian cinema had witnessed many powerful female characters. And Malayalam film industry’s contribution in providing strong women characters has been huge. But among them, only a handful of characters had an eccentric psyche. Personally, my top three eccentric female characters from Malayalam movies include; Nagavalli (Manichithrathazhu), Maya Vinodini (Ente Sooryaputhrikku), and Subhadra (Vaanaprastham). These iconic characters were played by the most talented actresses; Shobhana, Amala and Suhasini respectively.
Today, I feel compelled to write about Subhadra as I had a glimpse of Yaami‘s ‘Subhadra’. The brave reincarnation of Subadhra by this young photographer awakened my feelings for this iconic character. ‘Subhadra’ is a character that stands on an entirely different league. ‘Subhadra’ is not as psychotic as Nagavalli or as eccentric as Maya Vinodini. This character has very less drama, yet has the most insane mind. But was she really insane? I think not. I personally believe that her actions were her own choices. She crafted her situations, she moulded her own life and lived in a world of her own. Subhadra, in my opinion, is freedom and independence.
Suhasini’s portrayal of Subhadra was outstanding. Her subtle expressions, intense eyes, and confident voice were all convincing and conveyed the true nature of the character’s psyche. It was something Malayalam film industry had never witnessed before. This is the risk behind Yaami’s attempt to reincarnate the character after 19 years of film’s release and is the reason why it is such a brave attempt by the rising photographer of the generation.
Yaami’s Subhadra is perhaps not entirely a true depiction of the character in ‘Vaanaprastham’. It’s quite unique in its own way. Maybe, Yammi’s Subhadra can be perceived as the younger version of the character. The young model Malavika Sreenath has the charms of a teenage girl and looks perfect as a village beauty. Malavika’s expressions and intensity in her eyes are not as matured as Suhasini’s. It’s almost like an innocent phase of the character Subhadra. Definitely, Subadhra must’ve had a teenage phase just like Yaami’s portrayal of the character.
The photoshoot was done at the same location where ‘Vaanaprastham’ was shot, at Ottappalam, the serene village residing in the outskirts of Palakkad. Yaami has perfectly used the location. The surroundings and the entire mood of each frame look truly genuine and the photographer deserves huge appreciation for this brave attempt.