At one point in the second half of Paappan, the police head, played by Vijayaraghavan, got angry at police officers investigating a murder when they brought up a possible bible reference. He was like, why the hell all these serial killers are referring bible? Why can’t they do something using Geeta or Quran? Almost everyone inside the theater, including myself, cracked up at that statement, and it was perhaps the only moment where the audience responded to something that happened on screen. Presented as this new phase of an evolved Suresh Gopi, Paappan is a fusion of almost all the genre cliches that happened in the last ten or fifteen years. With 170 minutes of unsurprising thriller elements, Paappan is a tiring experience.
Ex-police officer Abraham Mathew Mathan aka Paappan, is our title protagonist. He had to leave the force when the court found out that he had forged evidence against a man who was responsible for Mathan’s personal loss. Years later, a murder investigation handled by his daughter drags him back to the court when the same old criminal comes under the police radar. The mysteries behind the new set of killings and how Paappan resolves that is what we get to see in this Joshiy film.
One of the very first scenes of the movie has both the media and the police jumping to conclusions very quickly about a murder. And they do that without even trying to look at the face of the person who died. Then the film goes after its hero’s build-up by placing him in a gray space. But when the movie reaches the second half, we get to know that what all had happened were just distractions targeting us. And this whodunit is just a routine thriller that tries to give an extra twist to the existing twists. The placements of twists in the script are such that you will never feel like they surprised you.
As the title protagonist, Suresh Gopi is more on that calmer side and is almost like an evolved Bharat Chandran. The slow tempo in dialogue delivery and that salt n pepper look add to the maturity of the character, and the glimpses of the vintage SG are visible here and there. Neeta Pillai is someone who was really impressive in her first two outings. In Paappan, she is indeed believable as that young police officer with unresolved issues with her father. Somewhere I felt the decision to make someone else dub for her reduced the charm of the performance. Gokul Suresh as Michael is somewhat inconsequential to the plot. Asha Sharath gets a meaty role. Shammi Thilakan as Chacko, especially in that post-interval Porotta scene, was really good. Nyla Usha, Kaniha, Tini Tom, Chandunath, Vijayaraghavan, Sreejith Ravi, and many more are there in the elaborate star cast.
The rendering style of the movie is slightly on the dated side from veteran director Joshiy. But the major slack of the blame here has to be given to the writing. The screenplay by RJ Shaan is excessive. When you backtrack the whole movie, it takes too much time to establish the past of Paappan, and the core story is happening in the later half of the movie. And the lack of novelty in approaching the concept makes the whole movie an unexciting mold the audiences are familiar. The frames have that level of black one would expect in a thriller of this sort. I liked the score by Jakes Bejoy for the opening sequence and the interval block.
The basic problem with Paappan is that it remains dull throughout its runtime. There isn’t a phase in the screenplay where the trajectory taken by the proceedings will excite you. And I am talking about a movie that roughly consumes 3 hours of yours. Suresh Gopi has recently said in an interview that he won’t make an effort to get casted in a film. So my request to the new lot of directors is to cast him in their films. The man looks classy in those salt n pepper attires, and the swagger is still there.
The basic problem with Paappan is that it remains dull throughout its runtime. There isn't a phase in the screenplay where the trajectory taken by the proceedings will excite you.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended