Manichitrathazhu series #1 : A thesis on Ganga’s ‘Duality!’
‘Who is Ganga?’ Ask this straightforward questions to any cine lovers in Kerala. They will answer in harmony, – ‘The lady who unlocked the Ornate Lock!’ or ‘the ghastly wandering soul – Nagavalli’. Even after two decades, no feminine character couldn’t even dare to stand against this enchanting enigma. Born in the hands of genius, Sri. Madhu Muttam, brought up in care and love by the Ace director Fazil, being the flesh and bone impeccably by charming muse, Shobana.
Shobana as Ganga. (Click to enlarge the image)
There are many a theories about the ‘Ganga-Nagavalli dual personality’ ,found in Internet apart from Dr. Sunny’s Original. Even if Dr. Sunny’s explanation seems legit for the viewers, yet ends up in an ambiguity. ‘What made Ganga to fall for Nagavalli?’ To find and answer, Ganga is Psychoanalysed here (with the limited knowledge I have in Psychology), based on observations after several revisits.
Living Ganga’s life is hard for any women, the life she lived in her childhood was onerous. The loneliness she faced has tampered her mind; lived around myth and legends made her tender-hearted and empathetic. Apparently, those days were tedious for her. Chances are that her repeated thoughts of loneliness and about her parent’s leaving might have ended her up in a mental state – ‘Pathological Trance’, which turns into a total Psychological breakdown in adolescence. Later, that got suppressed by medication before her marriage to Nakulan.
“Trance is a state of limited awareness, it is quite natural for human mind to end up in trance. The withdrawal of consciousness from surroundings usually happens with the overload of certain thoughts reverberating in mind. It is caused by the closed loop of limited thoughts. Naturally happens when thoughts are limited and attention become fixed, the fixation alters perception which can create dream states, visions and hallucinations. Long term trances can end up in Pathological Trances which can result in physical or mental diseases. Pathological trance can create illusions which do not exists and cause the failure to perceive what really exists. It can be induced deliberately or with certain inducing factors. “There is an escapists pleasure in remaining in trance”. In my Ganga-Nagavalli theory, I made use of Freudian symbolism of dream interpretation, as the patient (Ganga) suffered from severe hallucinations (which is shown in the climax) in trance state. Manifest part is mostly waking reality and the latent content part is Ganga’s action to what she perceives.”
If you revisit Ganga’s life, we could find her in the middle of a pool made of books. Most of them can be categorized under loneliness themed. It is proven that a medium such as books have the potential to induce trance. She nurtured it, may be to overcome her pain of loneliness. Even after the marriage with Nakulan, Ganga have been often indulge in the ecstasy of reading.
Ganga reading Kavoottu.
Ganga came to Madampally with her spouse Nakulan, she was welcomed by the pervasive silence. She seems enjoying her solitude, but soon found seeking the company of her books. ‘Kavoottu’ a poetic collection by P. Mahadevan was about loneliness written in first person which is not more that Ganga’s life itself. She embraces every line close to her heart. On reading it in the secluded corridors of Madampally, Ganga might have undergone series of thought processes, ended up in ‘trance’. Through every rereading of the book, being indulged in its ecstasy, Ganga was becoming vulnerable to Pathologies. Moreover her perception altered resulted in making rash decisions. What she perceive can only be explained with relation to symbolism and how urge she was to do those actions.
* * * From Now on I am considering Ganga to be in a Psychological trance induced by the book, her perception and actions are the subject of analysis. * * *
It was at that time when Ganga asked Alli to find a space to rack up her book, on searching for space in the upper floor, they found a locked room, thekkini and Ganga seems deeply attracted to it. Later she came to know the strangeness of the tabooed room, and the myths associated with it. It didn’t stop her urge, but only amplifies and she manages to make the key duplicated with help of Alli and Chandu. When putting Freudian symbolism on her ongoing trance state, we might find astonished to know Lock and Key represents Coitus. But why was she so urged? This makes her relationship with Nakulan questionable! Wasn’t Ganga sexually satisfied? It would be just a speculation if I make conclusion at this point.
Ganga opening tabooed room ‘Thekkini’.
Lets drew your attention to an exquisite scene, the scene which made me to write – Ganga entering thekkini for the first time. She climbed the stairs with the key to her desires. She found the lock was bounded by an enchanted talisman, the ‘moral sanity’ to her. With a tinge of scorn on her face she broke it, threw it away. After hurriedly unlocking the door she deliberately put down the key, it implies she could be in a psychic trance. With the creaking of the door, Ganga saw the Karanavar’s bed, and a misplaced sword that might have tasted Nagavalli’s blood, hanging beside Karanavar’s portrait.
On looking around Ganga finds a room, as her eyes laid on it, a female croons sad verses in Ahiri raga fills the air. From Ganga’s facial expression it is clear that she’ve heard it clearly – an auditory hallucination! Why I said this with shear confidence is that, it is to the same song she sung and dance as Nagavalli in thekkini. So I found it was her subconcious mind who croons. Much to my surprise when I analysed the song I found striking similarity with ‘Kavoottu’!!!
“Oru murai vandu parayo, vasalai nadi varayo,
Darisanam indru tharayo, thogayin ekkam theerayo.”
– Nagavalli’s song of distress
“Varuvanillarum ingorunaalumee vazhikkariyaam athennalumennum,
Priyamulloralaro varuvanudennu njaan veruthe mohikkumallo,
Ennum veruthe mohikkumallo.”
– Excerpt from the Kavoottu
Both songs reflects hope, sadness and isolation. Indeed it supports Dr. Sunny’s theory that Ganga was sympathetically attracted to Nagavalli. But my theory ends in much more shocking conclusion. Let me get to the point. What made Ganga’s subconsciousness to croon? Of course, Ganga was in trance and her mind seems riveted to the room. “Freudian symbolism for room represents female genital!” Ganga entered Nagavalli’s chamber in fervor. Lost hope and pervasive silence welcomed her. With an awe on her face, Ganga was drawn towards Nagavalli’s portrait. She knew she was alone in a secluded mansion’s haunted room, standing infront of a wandering soul. She seems neither scared nor bewildered. But She ‘orgasmed’ with a smile! Her subconsciousness seems aroused.
Nagavalli – Painting.
I was doubted above that Ganga was a sexually unsatisfied woman, but a man of Nakulan’s health could satisfy her desires. But what if even Nakulan can’t satisfy her fantasies! Indeed it points solely on a fact that Ganga ‘was’ Lesbian. Let me put it this way. At the beginning of her adolescence, time made changes on her mind and body. She needed a true companion to end her secluded days. It might have ended up with a girl, which later turned out to be her lesbian lover. Her disapproval for going back to Calcutta with her parents might be pointing this, finally resulted in psychological breakdown.
Ganga opening treasure chest.
There are further proofs that shows Ganga had lesbian desire. Later while opening a treasure chest she had shown the erotic vibes in her. Treasure chest also symbolizes female genital. More she opened and interacted with Nagavalli’s priceless possessions, more she was satisfying her desires. Dancing, singing and dressing as Nagavalli in thekkini can be interpreted as Ganga’s act of fulfilling her lesbian desire.
In the beginning stages, Ganga was she herself, who just seeks Nagavalli to attain her sexual arousal. Then, how came Ganga possessed by the Nagavalli?
The answer lies in the complexity of her mind. On the first day when Ganga enters thekkini, after she smiled at Nagavalli painting, she saw Nagavalli’s treasure chest. But when she was about to take it sreedevi’s high pitched voice cut through the sheer silence. “Very much to my surprise Ganga’s eye darted towards the painting with awe, her eyes hooked for a second as if she had seen something unimaginable “ What if Ganga saw herself in the Nagavalli’s attire? What if that shock made an impression deep in her mind, that she herself was Nagavalli? That impression was too deep in her subconsciousness which cannot be activated under normal trance. Just before she ran off she seems fully waken up from the Trance. As she ran, fear strides behind her.
Ganga looking Nagavalli’s painting awed.
On supporting my thesis, I observed a mirror in Nagavalli’s room. On every scene showing the mirror, it gets cleaner and tidier. It proves the frequent usage of it. What if the mirror acts as a port key to Ganga’s world of erotic lesbian fantasies with Nagavalli. On keen observation you could find more signs supporting my thesis. May be you’ve felt by now that I’m stitching a tale that fills the silence in the original story line. But when reading and interpreting signs in my way, things doesn’t seems absurd. I was forced to conclude Ganga’s suppressed lesbianism made her to fall for Nagavalli. The seclusion, books and Thekkini myth stood as a reason to evoke that repressed emotions. Ganga find wish fulfillment through hallucinations, every auditory and visual hallucinations are Ganga’s repressed wishes, and in the final stage of psychosis it becomes Nagavalli’s.
Mirror in Nagavalli’s room.
“Why Ganga percieved Nakulan as Karanavar?”
“The answer is obvious. Nakulan was the only obstacle stood infront of Ganga’s lesbian desires. Killing Nakulan is an act of wish fulfillment.”
This gives a new dimension on Ganga’s act of being raped by Mahadevan – Alli’s fiance. She might have believed Nakulan could be injured fatally or even got killed in between a brawl with Mahadevan, a last hope. But Dr. Sunny’s intervention made the attempt fruitless and put her into deep dungeon of distress.
Ganga posing like Nagavalli.
Ganga neither saw herself in Nagavalli nor sympathetcally attracted to her. She was struck by an idea, that Nagavalli was a symbol of despondency, fear and misery. For wish fulfillment her subconscious mind deliberately took Nagavalli as an attire. Literally she was impersonating herself as Nagavalli safely in the shades of Myth. At the same time enjoying her lesbian fantasy while spreading horror. If, she was, then the final theatricality she put forward was a show off to escape from Dr. Sunny’s treatment.
The only question that persists in mind. Imagine if the saga continues, ‘Could Nakulan still be found alive?’