The very first scene of Aadhi Balakrishnan's 'Pranayakadha' is an intriguing one, that makes your hair stand on its end. But then, it's a steady down slide of sorts, with very little of what's being told making sense.
Anand (Arun Narayan) is in love with Rita (Swarna Thomas), and the youngsters decide to elope all on a sudden. Support arrives in the form of Seban (Govindankutty), Anand's best friend, and the trio flees into the forest, waiting in hiding for the day when Rita would turn eighteen, so that a marriage could be registered. Little do Anand and Rita realize, that Seban has other plans in his mind.
What is perhaps most disappointing about 'Pranayakadha' is that the love is nowhere to be seen. This is a story of teenage infatuation at best; a story of a realization that arrives a bit too late. The title, hence, sounds awkward, to say the least.
'Paranju Paranju Kaadu Kayari...' goes the tagline of the film that literally suggests having gone off-track in the course of narration. It turns out to be appallingly apt, in that the film does just that, and in no time starts moving round in circles, not sure of where to pull the plug once and for all.
The characterization is half baked, and the film offers us little opportunities to get to know any of the three leading characters. Especially hazy is the manner in which Seban has been chalked out, and we wonder if he's really the bad guy that we expect him to be, or if he is merely some befuddled young man who has gone bonkers.
The relationships between the three are equally misty, and one wonders what it is that must have prompted Seban to do the unthinkable. Was he merely being vindictive to Rita, with whom he had a few scores to settle? Was he one of those possessive friends who could not see his best pal getting a bit too cosy with his love? The questions are one without definite answers.
And there are a few characters left wandering here and there, who eventually disappear without as much as a trace. There is this Tamil guy who runs a human trafficking racket from the looks of it, whom Seban rings up once in a while. And then you don't hear of him ever again, making you wonder if they had decided to chuck him out of the script as an after thought.
The climax that is downright disappointing holds no surprises in store, and the film then starts a long trudge up a hill. It shows no signs of ending, and as the melancholic backgrounds core blasts on, you are kept in endless wait for that end credits to start rolling.
Swarna Thomas is remarkably convincing as the teenager who realizes her folly a bit too late, and Arun Narayan is amply supportive. Govindankutty turns out to be the perfect foil to their love tale, and it should be stated that it's the performances alone that are the saving grace in this otherwise utterly uneventful film.
'Pranayakadha' is riddled with superfluous scribbles that do not make an appealing love tale. It's difficult to put forward arguments in support of this romance, whichever way you look at it.