The storyline of Malayalam gangster comedy movie Padayottam, starring Biju Menon might look familiar to many. Our hero Chengal Raghu (Biju) is a goon, but of course a good person – how can a hero be that bad, right?
In a mission to find a person in Kasaragod, he along with three others leave from their native place in Thiruvananthapuram. Raghu and friends get involved in a series of mishaps during their journey to Kerala’s northern state. How they come out of these situations form the story of Padayottam.
Performances in Padayottam
As always, Biju Menon has portrayed the character Chengal Raghu effortlessly. Unlike the life of goons we are already familiar with, Raghu is different. The God-fearing and mother-fearing goonda is a down-to-earth person, respected by almost everyone in the locality.
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Saiju Kurup (Sreekuttan), Dileesh Pothan (Senan) and Sudhi Koppa (Renju), who accompany him to Kasaragod, keep the audience engaged throughout. Thanks to their funny mannerisms and humorous dialogues. Basil Joseph (Pinku), Hareesh (Kasaragod Ratheesh) and Lijo Jose Pellissery (Britto) also portray their characters decently. However, the villain characters RD and Mangalore Samad were unsatisfactory.
Meanwhile, Ganapathi S Poduwal has been doing similar characters in pretty much all his movies, come on man, you need to move on!
Except Sethulakshmi’s character, other female actresses have no relevance in the storyline of Padayottam. Wondering what was the whole purpose of including Anu Sithara’s character in the movie? Did the makers completely forgot about her after shooting her initial sequence? Actress Neha Saxena is just part of a wedding eve song (shot in a single take). Aima Sebastian didn’t have much to do either.
What stands out?
Debutant director Rafeek Ibrahim’s Padayottam has some really hilarious moments that remain the highlight of this gangster comedy flick. For this, the scriptwriters – Arun AR and Ajai Rahu – have included at least three dialects spoken in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kasaragod. The usage of these dialects itself creates many situational comedy scenes (for instance, the way a hotel waiter recites the food menu in Kasaragod style is hilarious) throughout the film.
There is a particular scene in which Renju explains to Raghu about a stranger attacking Pinku and his mother. The dramatic dialogues and its picturisation are sure to make you laugh out loud. Also, the narration of Pinku meeting Raghu is a funny one too.
What went wrong?
There are three songs in Padayottam, composed and arranged by Prashant Pillai. However, none of them remain in our minds and I felt they were not syncing well with the situations of the storyline either; especially, the wedding eve song Swapnam Swapnam and its dance choreography. However, the overall BGM is good.
The subtitles are misplaced as well as wrong in many places (for instance, when a character says “mattavalde 28” it is translated as “baby shower”). Also, during the last fight scene, none of the dialogues were heard due to loud background score and out-of-context subtitles appear on screen creating a whole lot of confusion.
Though Padayottam has some situational comedy dialogues that will make you laugh, not all of those work well. The one that clearly remains in my mind is Sreekuttan’s wife asking about his “business trip”. Meanwhile, the climax scene, although an interesting one, looks similar to the ending of some comedy skits seen in television reality shows. Nevertheless, the movie is harmless if you have some time to spare.
RATINGS CHART 5 stars: Exceptional, masterpiece 4.5 stars: Well crafted piece of art 4 stars: Very good, exciting, interesting/new concept 3.5 stars: Good, but some minor flaws 3 stars: Okay, one-time watch 2.5 stars: Mixed feelings 2 stars: Disappointing. Watch at your own risk 1.5 stars: Frustrating. 1 star: A complete disaster. Better avoid this