Parunthu is a feel-nothing movie that tries too hard to find its way into your heart. And in its frantic attempts to do so, it presents before us an outrageous premise and then fails to make us believe it.
Parunthu Purushothaman (Mammootty) is a hawk-eyed moneylender with a particular penchant for hot cash. There are quite a few families that have taken to the streets as the ruthless monster stealthily descends on them, as a falcon in hot pursuit of its kill. Purushu doesn't think twice before rudely barging into a wedding and messing it all up, even as the bride Rakhi (Laxmi Rai) and her sister (Kalyani) gape speechless. In a mad fervor to crush the world under his feet, Purushu goes about waging a losing battle against truth, honesty and integrity.
The male leads in all of Padma Kumar's films have thick streaks of villainy running through their veins. They are seldom champions for a just cause until brought in confrontation with a bitter truth that wholly rips them apart. In Parunthu it's no different, and yet the makeover is terribly unconvincing due to a succession of events that are redundant, stiff and colorless. While the basic idea is an interesting one, two and a half hours of monotony is a bit too much to ask for its disclosure.
Razak's script has a zombie of a protagonist who badly wants to appear persuasive. In drawing up a ravenous soul, Razak disregards the need to perk it up with a prudent tale that constantly engages. Even as a greed for anything that smells of money lingers all over the film, there are a few instances that suggest gluttony as well. There are such nuances aplenty that would most fittingly be content for a character study, but certainly not alluring enough to sustain a viewer's concern.
Parunthu is a film that refuses to move beyond its kick-off point. Adamantly stuck to where it set off, it makes little progression and even lesser transition. There are a few trials to your patience as well, and there is no handsome reward at the end either.
Mammootty sports a frown through the entire length of the film, inkeeping with those shades of black and grey. It's his performance that occasionally lifts the film above its predictability. As a bleeding Purushu staggers along the hospital floors, begging for a bit of attention, we suddenly realize what we had been missing all the while. There is perhaps this only odd instance that's truly demanding of the fabulous actor's potential. The rest of it is a mushy enterprise with no thematic weight to justify the effort.
The most laudable feature of Parunthu is that it doesn't succumb to pave the way for a star warfare, which was eagerly anticipated by all and sundry, especially after its predecessor Madambi took an open dig at the film. As the credits roll, Parunthu has Purushothaman piercingly proclaiming that he would rather compete with himself, thereby pulling down the curtains on an imminent celebrity combat.
In Padma Kumar's Parunthu, the regal bird is uncharacteristically passive. There is simply no ferocity in its eyes nor does it whoosh about with a lethal clinch. All it does is soar senselessly all around with neither a prey nor a perch in sight.
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