The way the story of Padavettu escalates from a man’s personal evolution to a tale about land politics is extremely abrupt. Liju Krishna’s first film is a well-crafted film that seems to lose its rhythm somewhere during its transition from the second act to the third act. With some interestingly written characters and memorable performances, Padavettu keeps you interested in its politics even though its impact isn’t fully conveyed.
The story is set in the backdrop of Maloor, a village in the Kannur district. Our hero Ravi is this jobless young man who lives with his aunt Pushpa. There is a reason why Ravi is like this, and he was someone who, at one point, had a bright future. Ravi’s lack of interest in doing anything leads to a scenario where a political party utilizes that space for its benefit. The humiliation of that incident pushes Ravi to be a better version of himself and how that transformation happens is what we see in Padavettu.
What impresses you the most is Liju Krishna’s ability to tell the story by including the pool of characters in the script. The characters and their communication style look very authentic, and even the humorous bits in the film are in sync with everything happening in the story. The first half of the movie is entirely invested in establishing Ravi. We see his current attitude and what he was in the past, and also it ends at a point where he decides to change something in himself. The politics in the backseat all that while suddenly grabs the steering in the movie’s last act. Even though the visual grammar of those sequences is pretty captivating, the jump is so jarring that we don’t really get the intensity of its political statement.
In terms of body language, physique, and attitude, Nivin Pauly fits the mold of Ravi, and in those intense scenes, he manages to hold the scene with his screen presence. Aditi Balan as Shyma gets forgotten after a while. The same can be said about many characters in the film. They all looked prominent in the beginning but were nowhere to be seen towards the end. Shammi Thilakan as the antagonist Kuyyali, was really good with the minimalism in his performance. Remya Suresh, as Pushpa, got a character with great possibility, and she performed her part exceptionally well.
Liju Krishna’s clarity in scene choreography is something I really loved. Without necessarily compromising anything, he manages to keep it interesting for the viewer through the visual narration of events. The cuts of Shafique Mohammed Ali help the movie cover too many things without going for a verbal explanation or a flashback sequence. Deepak D Menon’s lensing and color palette were really good in establishing the power dynamics and the political tension in the ambiance. Govind Vasantha’s music has a wide variety of themes that reflect the film’s scenarios.
At its core, the USP of Padavettu is its politics. The film is very unapologetic about depicting certain apolitical thinking in the present society. Even though the movie scores big time in impressing us by using the medium effectively, the way it enters that political zone on a scripting level is a bit bumpy. Padavettu is a well-crafted film that couldn’t give much space to its politics.
Even though the movie scores big time in impressing us by using the medium effectively, the way it enters that political zone on a scripting level is a bit bumpy.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended