Pathinettam Padi, the debut directorial venture of Shankar Ramakrishnan is an extremely distracted film. The movie wants to address a lot of things within its elaborate runtime of around 160 minutes. But the predictability in the story and the stiffness in the making makes it a film that won’t inspire on any level. Sudeep Elamon’s exquisite cinematography was perhaps the only thing that made this coming of age drama look engaging.
So the movie is pitched as a flashback story of a guy named Ashwin. He is the head of a school named school of Joy that has a different approach towards the process of education. So when he gives an interview about the school, he is thrown back to the memories of his eventful school days where he and his friends from a public school had a major tiff with the boys of government model school. How that phase of his life shaped him up as a better human being is what Pathinettam Padi dealing with.
On a concept level, Pathinettam Padi doesn’t feel like a novel thought. So how they will shape the story visually had a great significance. But the script becomes a bloated one after a point and the philosophy after philosophy style dialogues reminded me of the dialogues Shankar Ramakrishnan wrote for My Story. The script is so wide in the first half that you could really sense the editor struggling to balance the two parallel stories. The episode like narrative almost makes one forget about the other school when the movie focuses on one particular school. The second half luckily has a better focus, but there again the overly sophisticated dialogues and some of the over-ambitious and pretentious inclusions derail the movie.
Among the numerous new faces, only Chandhunath and Ambi Neenasam had the ability to portray the characters with some sense of believability. Chandunath showed ease in his portrayal that was severely lacking in the performance of others. Both heroes played by Ashwin Gopinath and Akshay Radhakrishnan were lacking grace in performance and their dialogue delivery was also underwhelming. Ahaana Krishnakumar doesn’t have much to do here. I really liked the performance of Ambi Neenasam who portrayed the role of Suran. Mammootty gets to do a character with a pretentious texture. Prithviraj, Arya, Unni Mukundan, Priya Mani, etc are the other major cameos that made the poster look rich.
The issue with the making style of Shankar Ramakrishnan is that he is always trying to include the text to dominate the visual. The dialogues are way too elaborate and excessively dramatic. It is okay to have dramatic dialogues in movies, but when each sentence uttered feels like a Paulo Coelho quote or a Sasi Tharoor rhetoric, the impact it could have on you gets reduced. The writing looks too random too. They could have easily edited out many sequences and it wouldn’t have affected the story. The commercial compromises to include the cameos also diminish the charm. The music was fine while the placement of many songs was awkward. Like I already said, the cinematography by Sudeep is exquisite, but whether a movie like Pathinettam Padi demands that much exquisiteness is a different debate.
In totality, this wannabe inspiring film looks half baked with no real takeaways for the viewer. Pathinettam Padi wants to talk about the flaws in the educational system and also the need for a proper education system. But the chances of you recognizing that core idea after the chaotic events of the movie are very less.
In totality, this wannabe inspiring film looks half baked with no real takeaways for the viewer.