The story of Swapaanam deals with the life of Unnikrishnan (Jayaram), hailing from a family of Chenda artists. During the childhood itself, Unnikrishnan suffers mental problem followed by an accident. Growing up, Unnikrishnan also becomes a chenda artist like his brothers Achyuthan (PD Namboothiri) and Kuttan (Udayan Namboothiri) and joins them for Chenda Melam's in various festivals. Experiencing some difficulties in the beginning, Unnikrishnan slowly gains popularity in festivals. Being impressed with his expertise, Raman Marar asks Unni to marry his daughter Kalyani (Lakshmi Gopalaswamy). Kalyani is in love with their driver Prakashan (Sarath).
However, Unni and Kalyani get married, but Kalyani faces several difficulties in married life due to the abnormal behaviour of Unnikrishnan and runs away with Prakashan. Unnikrishnan while on a visit to Narayanan Namboothiri (Siddique), gets close to Nalini (Kadambari), sister of Narayanan and a Mohiniyattam artist. Their relation gets intense till Narayanan gets to know about the same. Unnikrishnan, with the help of his mother (Ashwini Ranga) consults Pookkaattiri Thirumeni (Suresh Kurup) for healing his mental illness. During this, Narayanan arranges marriage of Kalyani with Thuppan Namboothiri (Vineeth), and Kalyani had to agree without any choice. After their marriage Kalyani gets to know that Thuppan Namboothiri is sort of a transgender and doesn't like anyone even to touch him. Rest of the movie deals with the stressful lives of Unnikrishnan and Kadambari trying to cope up with their situations.
Jayaram as Unnikrishnan have portrayed the role to near perfection. Though the role can't be termed as his career best, he has essayed the expressions of abnormality quite well. Kadambari as Nalini is good with her role, but could have improved better on the dubbing portions. Surprise package of the movie is the character by Siddiue as Narayanan Namboothiri. The role was challenging for the actor and he has done full justice to it. Vineeth as Thuppan Namboothiri is another pick among actors. Rest of the actors including Sarath, Lakshmi Gopalaswami, Indrans (Selvan), Aswini Ranga, PD Namboothiri, Udayan Namboothiri and all others have done their part well.
Cinematography by Saji Nair is excellent. Be it the dark mood, beautiful scenarios, or close-up frames of actors, he has managed to capture almost everything with brilliance.
Songs composed by Sreevalsan J Menon controls the movie throughout. There are many songs included in the movie which are pleasing to the ears. BGM by Issac Thomas Kootukapally is also appealing to the ears and blends well with mood of the movie.
Makeup by Pattanam Rasheed deserves a special mention. He has managed the section exceptionally well which can be seen on the screens in make overs of lead actors.
With all these positives, Swapaanam is not devoid of flaws. The script seems to confuse as the narrative is sort of mixed between flashback and present. The movie requires some patience to sit throughout its 150 minutes. The length of the movie could have been trimmed for a better acceptance among common people.
On the whole, Swapaanam is a winner for class movie lovers. If you are ready to watch some wonderful performances and have some patience, the movie won't disappoint you.