Nandalala is a 2010 Tamil independent drama film written and directed by Mysskin. He himself plays the lead role, alongside newcomer Ashwath Ram and Snigdha Akolkar. The film, which is produced by Ayngaran International and features a highly acclaimed musical score by Ilaiyaraaja, is loosely based on the 1999 Japanese film Kikujiro, and partly inspired from Myshkin’s life.
The film illustrates the road journey of two people, a mentally challenged adult and an eight-year-old schoolboy, both in search of their respective mothers. Myshkin began developing Nandalala in 2006, penning the scriptment for eight months. Supposed to be filmed, after the release of Myshkin’s debut film Chithiram Pesuthadi (2006), the film was shelved since no producer came forward to fund the film, and was launched only in June 2008, after the release of Myshkin’s second film Anjathe (2008). Nandalala was completed by December 2008, but got stuck in development hell later, with no distributors willing to release the film. Following numerous preview shows and screenings at several film festivals, the film eventually released on 26 November 2010, opening to very positive reviews and garnering critical acclaim.
The film is about Bhaskar Mani (Mysskin ) an adult who has spent the best part of his life in a mental asylum and Akhilesh (Ashwath Ram), a schoolboy. Both of them have one thing in common; separated from their mothers at a very early age. Both yearn to meet their mother; though for completely different reasons. One just wants to let her know how much he misses her and the other wants to know why he was forsaken by his mother. Destiny binds them together and they begin a journey, holding on to each other, searching for their mothers. As the saying goes, ‘Success is a journey, not a destination’. The journey taken by Bhaskar Mani and Akhilesh is not so much about where they end up, but about what they go through, what they encounter and what they learn. They start off with the hope that the destination may change their lives, may give an outlet to long pent up emotions; but it is the journey that transforms them. One can only imagine the plight and helplessness of a man from a mental asylum and a schoolboy as they walk around without knowing the harshness and cunning of the world around them. In the process they are battered and bruised, but transformed. And, it is not only they who are transformed. Along the way, their innocence and affection changes others too. They make friends; not the backslapping kind; but ones who are able to understand and share their pain. And in the end they emerge better, not more street smart or cunning or worldly, but as people who have come to terms with what life has offered them. That is Nandalala in a nutshell.
Directed by Mysskin
Produced by K. Karunamoorthy & C. Arunpandian
Written by Mysskin
Based on Kikujiro by Takeshi Kitano
Starring Mysskin, Snigdha Akolkar, Ashwath Ram
Music by Ilayaraaja
Cinematography Mahesh Muthuswami
Edited by Ravi Shankar
Production Ayngaran International
Distributed by Ayngaran International
Release date 26 November 2010
Running time 125 minutes