Propaganda films are usually made to counter the flaws criticized by your political opponent and expose your rival political party. But what if a propaganda film ends up being helpful to those who are against the politics of the film? Priyapettavar, starring Rajasenan and directed by Khader Moidu, is one such unique experience. Made with the intention of glorifying the “patriotic” right-wing politics, this one is a laugh riot for the neutral and a cringe-fest even for the right-wing enthusiast.
Gopinatha Menon, a wealthy NRI, has returned to his home after several years. He needs to find some peace in his life and decides to fix all the broken links in his life. Menon met his sister and took her with him. He chose to do social service as he heard the voices of his late father and mother in his sleep. But the social service intent of Menon hit a roadblock when the active political fronts in Kerala took a stand against him. Menon’s selfless urge to do service to the country and where this resistance from ruling political parties took him is what we see in Priyapettavar.
One thing I must say about this shoddy creation is that it is highly entertaining in the most unintended way. The movie’s climax has Gopinatha Menon declaring his political entry along with the people around him chanting Bharat Mata Ki Jai! Patriotism wasn’t insulted in such a brutal way in a long time. Even the Prime Minister’s party was a bit subtle in their application of love for the country for political benefits. There is a sequence in the movie where Menon and his boys convince the daughter of a communist party worker that she was getting brainwashed by a Muslim youth for the holy war. I hope the scene was written keeping in mind the possibility of Yogi Aditya Nath buying the remake rights of this film.
Radhesh Nair, who has co-produced and written this movie, makes life difficult for daily soaps in character development and dialogue writing. Khader Moidu makes sure that the mediocrity in writing reflects in the way shots are composed. Mr. Moidu seems to have not come out of the awe of helicam visuals. There are one or two lengthy conversations in the movie that are captured using drone visuals where you practically have no clue who is talking to who. Radhesh tries to infuse patriotism, love jihad, secularism, etc., in the most laughable way possible. In one scene, a Muslim man shows the Rakhi tied on his wife’s hand with immense pleasure (The writer just can’t hide his intention to present the Hindutva superiority). Our hero Gopinatha Menon is projected as this scholar who knows all the religious books, and yet his concerns are so driven by religious insecurities.
Rajasenan plays the role of Gopinatha Menon here and enhances the overall mediocrity of the whole movie. The kind of outdatedness we saw in his last few films as a director was visible in his performance as an actor. Seeing someone like MR Gopakumar in a movie like this is a heartbreaking sight, but luckily the unintentional comedy format of the film helps us forget that pain. The other popular name in the cast is Charmila, who delivers a forgettable melodramatic performance. Everyone else is simply unbearable, especially the actor who played the role of Gopinatha Menon’s second son.
The times are tough, and we all need some form of entertainment to reduce the stress through which we are all going through. The timing of the OTT release of this movie through Limelight is perfect, in my opinion, because I had a constant smile on my face throughout its runtime. The signal might be blood red, but the entertainment it provides demands a different scale altogether.
The timing of the OTT release of this movie through Limelight is perfect, in my opinion, because I had a constant smile on my face throughout its runtime.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended