Purusha Pretham Malayalam Movie
Director Krishand's "Purusha Pretham" (Male Ghost) makes a mockery of Kerala's law enforcement. It does not take too long for us to realize that this is a satire. The first scene itself shows a high-ranking police officer appearing as an actor in a TV serial. In the very next scene, Prashanth Alexander's cop character Super Sebastian speaks highly of his act of heroism. In reality, the situation that Sebastian talks about is more funny than heroic. Later, a dead body shows up in the middle of a river. If it moves a bit to either side of the river, the responsibility of handling the case would be with the cops in that respective region. It's funny the cops wait eagerly at the edge of the river to know where the body will go.
Speaking of the body, it is at the heart of what this film is trying to say. It is an unidentified dead body with links to a man-missing case. It is also a McGuffin, a storytelling device that does not have any relevance on its own but directs where the plot heads. Purusha Pretham works simultaneously as a piece of investigation and a satire.
Cop films usually operate at two ends of the spectrum: satirical or heroic. For instance, many Suresh Gopi films from the past decades are all serious affairs with masculine heroes. Purusha Pretham is one of those films that makes fun of the notion that cops are brave and masculine. There are many scenes in the film that work as a tight slap on the male ego, while reminding us that cops can be emotional fools, just like average folks. The writers Ajith Haridas and Manu Thodupuzha recognize this and add deliberate elements of humor to drive home the film's big ideas. At the same time, they explore the private life of Super Sebastian in such a way that it does not seem too detached from the central plot. In his personal life, Sebastian cooks for his aging mother, who abuses him at every opportunity.
Now, not all the ideas of the film land all the time. There is one where a cop serves lime juice for almost the entirety of the film. There are also the repetitive references to the police officer who acts in TV serials. These elements infuse the characters with quirks but also make the film a tad lengthy.
Another minor reservation I have with Purusha Pretham is regarding the big reveal at the end. It is a predictable plot twist, and the shift from a satire to a thriller does not seem as organic as possible. This is not to say that it seems forced or unorganic.
It is admirable how the makers manage to tell an entertaining story with elements of humor and thriller. The performances are flawless. Prashanth tackles his role with deadpan expressions and humor and retains an element of dignity in his character. The same goes true for Jagadish, who plays Sebastian's subordinate. There is no false note in Darshana Rajendran's performance, although she has limited screen time here. Another notable performance here comes from Devaki Rajendran, who plays Sebastian's lover.