Sarath's 'Parudeesa' is all about us, who keep searching for paradise, and coincidentally, the film seems to be lost in a similar predicament as well. The puzzlement that pervades human lives is all visible in the film, that fails to make a staunch statement.
Jose (Thambi Antony), the sexton at the Pullanimala church, seems to know more of the Holy Bible than the rector (Sreenivasan) himself. Thresia (Swetha Menon), the church help gets pregnant, and Jose disappears following a landslide that destroys half the village. Years later, he returns to Pullanimala again, this time as the priest, only to realize that not much has changed though time never stood still.
My hopes regarding 'Parudeesa' have been smashed no doubt, as it is a film that perhaps had a noble tale to tell, but which has been reduced to a mundane movie that fails to inspire or interest the filmgoer.
The best moment in 'Parudeesa' arrives half way through the film when Jose remarks that darkness has no relevance with the light around. And it is thus that the light shines ever so briefly on this otherwise murky movie that takes you along on a bumpy journey to heaven, only to tell you what you already knew - that the heaven has been, and will always remain an illusion.
What is most disappointing is the way the film turns into a whodunit towards the climax, with the difference remaining that the culprit to be nabbed is the one who had made Thresia pregnant. And the way it has been plotted to ensure that the shadow of suspicion falls ever so lightly on several characters including the rubber tapper (Nandu), the local moneybag Avuthachan (Jagathy Sreekumar) and Jose himself is funny, to say the least.
And yet it remains, that we are quick to identify who the real man behind the act is, and it was amusing to hear the few people in the cinema hall shout out his identity long before the climax. There seems to be no surprises in store for them, unlike what the film makers might have presumed.
Vinu Abraham's script offers us through 'Parudeesa', the philosophical insight that has been proposed many a time before; that paradise does not exist in the heavenly skies, but rather in a corner of our own hearts. The way it drives this realization into us, leaves a lot to be desired though.
Thambi Antony is quite impressive as the man who is accused and later absolved of a crime that he never did commit. Swetha, on the other hand looks terribly miscast, and fitting herself into weird looking clothes, is almost made to go through the seductress routine that her role in no way demands. Thresia, brings not just the repute of the sexton to ruin, but the entire film itself. It has almost become customary to mention a few words about the background score when it's Isaac Thomas Kottukapally, who is the man behind it. He doesn't disappoint in 'Parudeesa' either.
The attempts to link together religious and political ideologies have also been made, and it has even been suggested that the savior himself had dreamt of a socialist society. All said and done, the paradise still remains an enigma, and salvation appears as unfathomable as it has always been.