Pathinettam Padi can be a misleading title considering recent events in the state, yet it is quite apt here, in that the movie revolves around the lives of youngsters who are on the stepping stone to 18 years of age.
At the core of the film is the long-standing rivalry between student gangs belonging to two schools in Thiruvananthapuram city: an international school where those belonging to an elite background study, and a Government school where the not-so-economically-well off enroll. It is the kind of rivalry which seems quite unreal for school students, even in a masala entertainer, mainly due to the level of violence involved —from bus burnings to violent brawls inside a moving bus... even an organised fight to the death in an open ground!
- Starring: Mammootty, Prithviraj, Akshay Radhakrishnan, Chandhunadh
- Direction: Shanker Ramakrishnan
Notwithstanding the fact that some of these stylised stunts are aesthetically shot or well-choreographed, these scenes don’t belong in a movie about school students. Similarly, the five-star hangouts of the international school students, complete with an ‘item song’ also looks far removed from reality. However, the other scenes etching the background of the students and the bonding between them fare better.
The characters of the girls are relegated to the background, with hardly any of them getting a line or two to utter. Some romance blooms early in the first half, but it is soon left hanging, never to be talked about later. But one also feels thankful for sparing us the typical ‘campus romance’ track.
Too many characters make their appearance, but only a couple of them are written with any depth to them, like the young Ayyappan or the character of the sensible but eccentric teacher who guides the troublemakers. The whole bunch of newcomers do show promise, lighting up the screen with their infectious energy, even as the script, written by director Shanker Ramakrishnan himself, sags. The much-talked about cameos by Mammootty and Prithviraj doe not add much to the film. For once, the 'mass' scenes are left for the younger ones, while the elder ones act as guides.
Laced with some messages to the youth, the film seems to stand for an alternate model of education, away from rot-learning, but not much is shown on how they go about it. Although it would be quite a stretch to look for such details in a mass entertainer, that is perhaps one of the few takeaways from this movie, which is needlessly longer by atleast half an hour.