Kerala

Laugh riot from beginning to end

This rib-tickler will keep you glued to the seat for the entire duration of the film

A gangster who waits for ‘rahu kalam’ to pass and another who is lost in the strains of Gloomy Sunday. What if they belong to the dark echelons of organised crime, these guys simply can’t help but be hilarious. And in Padayottam they arrive in droves, in all shapes and sizes, and speaking all possible slangs. But what makes the film an uproarious affair is the way it averts the risk of certain monotony creeping into the plot, all the while keeping the craziness quotient intact. Rafeek Ibrahim tries to saturate every frame of his debut film with pure humour, and to our surprise he succeeds to a great extent. Padayottam, just like its original, is built on revenge, but here it is all about an underworld that delivers non-stop fun.

Padayottam has its comic yarn woven around Chengal Raghu, the bearded, bullet-riding gangster who has motion sickness. The take-off point for all the adventure is Pinku, the jilted Romeo who goes out of a booze party to buy cigarettes and gets roughed up by a stranger. It sets off Raghu and team on their Padayottam, a madcap expedition to avenge their friend, a rollicking road trip from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod. The strength of the film lies in the easy camaraderie of Raghu (Biju Menon) and his buddies Senan (Dileesh Pothan), Sreekuttan (Saiju Kurup), and Renju (Sudhi Koppa). Humour, neat and uninterrupted, easily springs out of their rants and banter.

Rafeek Ibrahim has managed to navigate the narrative without it ever entering a dull tunnel and supporting him in the task is the tight screenplay. Apart from a couple of nearly-negligible instances, the film never steers out of control and remains one wacky ride from the beginning to end. It generates laughter out of the most normal situations and even the routine slang jokes are presented with a dash of freshness and in a less annoying manner. While Ratheesh Raj’s editing maintains a brisk screen tempo, the plot heavy with twists is deftly backed by Prashant Pillai’s music.

Biju Menon is gloriously in character, a delightful blend of mad and macho, rugged and adorable. While Sethulekshmi salvages the cliche with a nuanced performance, Anu Sithara is relegated to a wall-flower role. You cannot help feeling that her character was forced into the plot just to have a pretty face in the posters or to tick off the conventional ‘heroine’ checkbox. Padayottam may not be any outrageous laugh riot, but this rib-tickler will definitely keep you glued to the seat for the entire duration of the film clocking 2.15 hours.

Navamy Sudhish

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 7:59:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/laugh-riot-from-beginning-to-end/article24957609.ece

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