‘Pachuvum Athbuthavilakkum’ movie review: Fahadh Faasil’s drama works on the strength of its characters

All of the characters in Akhil Sathyan’s film, and the way their portraits unhurriedly emerge, somehow justify the run-time, although there was still scope for removing a considerable chunk of the flab

April 28, 2023 05:44 pm | Updated 07:35 pm IST

Fahadh Faasil in ‘Pachuvum Athbuthavilakkum’

Fahadh Faasil in ‘Pachuvum Athbuthavilakkum’

Buried somewhere deep inside Prasanth aka Pachu is a good heart, but he is someone who won’t usually bother extending even the smallest of help to others unless he stands to benefit from it. Those who come in touch with him also seem to have an idea about this aspect of his character, which they tap at will to get their things done. Just like Prasanth, none of them are evil characters, although some happen to have varying amounts of negative shades.

While watching Akhil Sathyan’s debut movie Pachuvum Athbuthavilakkum, it almost feels like one is back in a familiar world of close-knit families and caring people we are so often used to watching in his father Sathyan Anthikad’s later films. Yet, Akhil seems to have his own distinct way of going about it, a method marked by some delicate touches and ease of extracting the right quantity of emotions from most scenes, without overdoing it.

Pachuvum Athbuthavilakkum (Malayalam)
Director: Akhil Sathyan
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Anjana Jayaprakash, Viji Venkatesh, Vineeth, Innocent, Mukesh
Runtime: 171 minutes
Storyline: Pachu, who runs an ayurveda business in Mumbai, is required to accompany 71-year old Laila, mother of the man who owns the complex where he runs the business, on her train journey from Kerala. What appears to be a regular journey transforms into a turning point in Pachu’s life

Pachu (Fahadh Faasil), who runs an Ayurveda franchise in Mumbai, is beginning to find his feet in running business in the big city. At 34, he is facing pressure from his family to get married. More than them, he is also eager to get married. Riyaz (Vineeth), who owns the complex where he runs the business, requests him to accompany his mother Laila (Viji Venkatesh) on a train journey from Kerala to Mumbai. What initially appears to be a regular journey, with some perks for embarking on it, would transform into a turning point in Pachu’s life, due to the unexpected turn of events.

The conflict at the centre of Pachuvum Athbuthavilakkum involving a young girl appears to be rather minor, and is stretched at times to last the almost three hours run-time. Instead, the conflict and its resolution seem to be excuses to explore a few characters whom Pachu meets at a crucial point in his life. For instance, Laila, more than being the mother of a rich man, has a life of her own and would go to any lengths to get things done her way.

Hamsadhwani (Anjana Jayaprakash) is another character who is lingered on. The script spends quite a considerable time slowly revealing previously unseen aspects of her personality. When we first meet her, she is a confident working professional, who is irritated at Pachu’s unwelcome intrusions into her life. Even when she slowly warms up to him, or when she draws the line on her toxic boyfriend, we don’t really see what is inside her, which is left for an extended scene later.

All of these characters, and the way their portraits unhurriedly emerge, somehow justify the run-time, although there was still scope for removing a considerable chunk of the flab. The humorous treatment of some of the weighty scenes, especially the one in a café involving Hamsadhwani, her boyfriend and Pachu, also helps drive the narrative, which mostly shuttles between Mumbai and Goa, with short stopovers in Kerala.

Akhil Sathyan is firmly in control in Pachuvum Athbuthavilakkum, which leans on some tried and tested methods of storytelling.

Pachuvum Athbuthavilakkum is currently running in theatres

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