Pathaam Valavu, the latest thriller from M Padmakumar starring Suraj Venjaramood and Indrajith Sukumaran, is a thriller that tries to cover up its unimaginative writing through casting. The idea is to draw a parallel between a police officer and a criminal and create a social justice drama out of it. But unfortunately, the beats of the screenplay are far too familiar, and the performances alone cant save it from the blandness.
Solomon is a convicted criminal who hasn’t returned to jail after his parole period. Inspector Sethu, who was about to take a 15-days leave as his wife was expecting, is given the charge of finding Solomon. Sethu’s efforts to find Solomon and what he learns about Solomon in that journey are what we see in Pathaam Valavu.
It is very obvious that Solomon is not a bad person, and it is the circumstances that made him a criminal. I am not saying there were no twists in the tale for me to get surprised. I was expecting a well-layered script that would make me empathize with Solomon’s loss. Here, writer Abhilash Pillai is trying to put the police and the criminal in the same emotional space using their family backdrop. And if you couldn’t guess what will happen in the climax from a distance, you are clearly not seeing enough thrillers off late. It would have been a better film if the writing was interested in exploring characters. But the outdated trope of last-minute justice gets presented in Pathaam Valavu as if we are witnessing it for the first time.
The performances are perhaps the only saving grace of this movie. Indrajith Sukumaran, with his stock expressions, is a perfect fit for an empathetic yet strict police officer. The rise of Suraj Venjaramood is always a pleasure to watch, and as the central character Solomon, he is believable as that caring family man. But the kind of action hero persona the movie is trying to attribute to him doesn’t land that smoothly. Aditi Ravi as Seetha was really good, and I would say it was perhaps the finest performance in her whole career. Ajmal Ameer was on the stiffer side. Nisthar Sait, Sudheer Karamana, Jayakrishnan, etc., are the other prominent names in the cast.
In the initial bits of the movie, Padmakumar manages to create that ambiance for a grey thriller. Sethu and Solomon have this lonely aspect, and there is this shared love for family. In terms of the story, it’s just an old-fashioned revenge drama. The only thing that could have made this drama impactful was a better depiction of the emotional state of the two characters. But the script invests almost the entire duration of the movie in narrating what actually happened in Solomon’s life. And it is a flat account of what happened which wasn’t enough to make that predictable climax twist look like God’s hand. Ranjin Raj’s music and background score give an emotional depth to the narrative.
The injustice faced by the commoner, the father-daughter sentiment, the vigilante kind of way of providing justice, etc., are tropes we have seen many times. Pathaam Valavu tries to assemble all these components but in an unimpactful story that looks dated almost from the very beginning.
The idea is to draw a parallel between a police officer and a criminal and create a social justice drama out of it. But unfortunately, the beats of the screenplay are far too familiar.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended