Purusha Pretham Review | A Well-Made Neo-Noir Satire With Impressive Performances

During the promotional interviews for his latest film Purusha Pretham, director Krishand admitted that literature is not his strong suit and he is more of a man of craft. When you look at Purusha Pretham, Krishand’s third directorial after Vrithakrithiyilulla Chathuram and Aavasavyuham, you can clearly see this craft aspect as he is more confident in using the visual medium as a tool. With the story amalgamating thriller and satire genres, this neo-noir attempt from Krishand is definitely worth your time.

SI Sebastian, aka Super Sebastian, is this star cop and the story’s central character. Unidentified bodies and their cremation are almost like routine jobs for Sebastian and his colleagues. One such body was found in a lake one day. Due to the unavailability of slots in the mortuary, the particular body was buried after 3 days. Things took an interesting turn when a lady named Susan came to the station and wanted to check whether the body was her husband’s. We see how Susan’s request changes everything for Sebastian and his colleague Dileep in Purusha Pretham.

In both his films before Purush Pretham, Krishand hasn’t really tried to focus on any particular track of the story. His style of divulging into subplots without really forgetting the core plot was what made his films peculiar. In Purusha Pretham also, he is opting for that style, and what I have described as the summary is almost like a mere story setting. The masculine ego of Sebastian, the discrimination faced by Dileep, etc., are there in the narrative. But they rarely become evident due to the procedural nature of this film.

More than the writing, the making gives identity to this film. While the noir sensibilities were pretty discrete in his other two films, in Purusha Pretham, Krishand has exploded the visual language with neo-noir syntax. The frames, especially in the interior setting, have these Selvaraghavan-style green and red neon lights, giving an eccentric tone to the whole thing. And to make it a lot more unsettling, he uses an unconventional framing where characters are mostly on the extreme edge of the frame. And most of the time, the characters were aligned outward from the frame. I tried to deduce a meaning for this visual grammar, but I couldn’t really come up with anything solid on the first view.

The development of the story is also pretty interesting. Just when you think the movie is getting diverted into the personal lives of Sebastian and Dileep, it comes to the central plot fiercely. And Krishand makes sure that the tools he has used to navigate into the lives of Sebastian and Dileep have a connection to the main plot. The music that includes rap songs enhances the wacky aesthetic of the film.

Alexander Prashanth, whom we have seen in many small yet memorable character roles, got the character of Sebastian, and he pulled off the various shades of that character convincingly. He knew the correct pitch that would work for a satire like this. Actor Jagadish as constable Dileep is such a delight to watch. Unlike his character in Rorschach, Dileep is a character who deserves empathy, and Jagadish’s performance was able to make us empathize with that character. Darshana Rajendran, as Susan, has got a character with less screen time. But she carried the mystery around Susan impressively. James Eliya as the advocate and Jeo Baby as the higher police official were hilarious. Devaki Rajendran, Zhins Shan, Rahul Rajagopal, Sreejith Babu, Sanju Shivram, Maala Parvathy, Geethi Sangeetha, etc., are also part of the cast.

Purusha Pretham uses a flawed system as a podium to deliver a satire that addresses a wide variety of themes. From caste-based discrimination and fragile male ego to the misery of women living in a male-favoring society (the characters played by Devaki Rajendran and Darshana Rajendran), Krishand includes a political layer to the story that never stood out. Krishand’s third movie is an exciting satire powered by some excellent performances.

Final Thoughts

With the story amalgamating thriller and satire genres, this neo-noir attempt from Krishand is definitely worth your time.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.