Pakalum Paathiravum , a toothless utterly untruthful crime thriller with a very Grecian heart transposed not so gingerly into a Malayali landscape.
Imagine a pasta dish marinated in sambhar. Or maybe icecream with mango pickles. The belligerent primitive violent domesticated mood of the original play hardly gets a decent burial in this lifeless drama filled with a sound of fury signifying nothing worth being attentive to.
The play-on-film begins with Michael (Kunchacko Boban) heading towards the Maoist-infested Kerala jungles where he seeks overnight staycation with a family suffering from acute insolvency. The main conflict is between the daughter of the family Mercy(Rajisha Vijayan)and Michael as she discovers he is a wealthy sod and could be her getaway from her current life of hopeless wretchedness.
Rajisha has done some significant work in recent years. She is capable of shouldering a film. But not on one which has no limb to support itself. Pakalum Paathiravum’s Greek ambitions remain dully delineated in a film filled with noisy violence and a hint of incest that reminded me of the old Dev Anannd classic Bambai Ka Babu.
The ‘Babu’ here as played by Boban truns out to be a do-gooder whose naivete can only be compared with the greed of the family that hosts him for the night. The narrative tumbles into the troubled past of the family with a mechanical trigger-point flip that leaves the audience completely unmoved.
But I liked Rajisha Vaijayan in a thankless role. She comes to grips with her slippery character and overcomes the hurdles of sloppy inapt writing. But poor Guru Somasundaram . After Murali Minnale he slips into a role so crude leery and undimensional, even Brando would be nonplussed.
There is a moving performance by Manoj KU as Mercy’s father. His anguished helplessness reaches his eyes in spite of a script which seems to have no respect for its characters.The breakneck speed breaks the plot’s neck splitting the bizarre storytelling into many fragments of emotions that do not cohere into any kind of substantial statement on greed and retribution.
The wilderness and the jungles in the plot hide many secrets. None of them manifest themselves into any kind of rewarding experience for us the spectators.