Padavettu Malayalam Movie
Writer-Director Liju Krishna's Padavettu uses a brilliant wild boar metaphor to tell a powerful tale of political call-to-arms. What does a wild boar do? It intrudes on our property and destroys everything there. It knows no boundaries, and it probably does not know that it can hurt people in significant ways. Similarly, politicians also encroach on our privacy and our property, and they do things they do not deserve to do. They persuade us with half-truths as well as promises and treacherous offers disguised as great giveaways. Unlike the wild boar, politicians know the consequences of their deeds.
The first half of Padavettu is a set-up for the call-to-arms that comes later in the film. Ravi (Nivin Pauly) is a seemingly lazy person who spends a good amount of his day idling about. There is a backstory with an accident explaining why Ravi is not doing anything significant in his life. Nivin Pauly's pitch-perfect performance allows us to understand the character just enough in the first half but not so much that it spoils anything. For instance, when Shammi Thilakan's Kuyyali, a local businessman-turned-politician, remodels his house that is in a state of despair, Ravi does not seem as ecstatic about it as his aunt Pushpa (Remya Suresh) does. But we do not immediately know why that is the case.
A casual moment on the cricket ground turns ugly as a player calls Ravi's bluff. This sets off a chain of events that will see Ravi undergo a significant change in his personality.
Padavettu does not really come up with groundbreaking pieces of storytelling or genre-defying plot elements, and the arguments that it makes about politics and politicians are perhaps well known to us. But it makes all those points in a way that does not compromise the overall cinematic experience.
This is a delightful film to watch in a theater. Deepak Menon's cinematography is just exquisite. Watch how the bearded image of Nivin Pauly appears on the screen as the last cracker in a chain of firecrackers bursts up and the whole smoke clears itself. It is wonderful to watch. Govind Vasantha's music adds an extra dimension to the story as it plays a role in and of itself. Then there are the performances.
Shammi Thilakan makes for a terrific antagonist to Nivin Pauly's Ravi. Shammi Thilakan's dialogue delivery and screen presence make him a joy to watch. He thrives on writer Liju Krishna's razor-sharp dialogue. Shine Tom Chacko excels again in a role with limited screen time but lots of emotions. Remya Suresh is also terrific as Ravi's aunt who makes a realization so late in the film.
Aditi Balan has a small role in comparison to some of the other actors, but I like how Shyama's relationship with Ravi evolves. Then there is Nivin Pauly. I like how understated Nivin is in the first half of the film. There, he is only simmering with rage. In the second half, however, Nivin roars as the jungle becomes crowded with so many wild boars, metaphorically speaking.