google playGoogle
app storeiOS
app store
app store
whatsapp_icon Get Alerts on WhatsApp
settings icon
profile icon

Pakalum Pathiravum review: Rajisha’s chilling performance, promising premise are wasted by clamorous making

Ajai Vasudev’s direction doesn't make use of these elements to build on that tension that Pakalum Pathiravum needed

  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

Last Updated: 08.55 AM, Mar 03, 2023

Available On:

Story: Michael, a wildlife photographer, on his journey from Kochi to Mysore decides to stop at a village near the Kerala-Karnataka forest border in Wayanad. His path crosses with that of a family comprising a mother, an alcoholic father and a rebellious daughter, Mercy, who are struggling to make ends meet. After Mercy finds out that Michael is carrying something valuable and also a gun, the family has to choose their next steps carefully, especially when they are warned of a lurking Maoist threat.

Review: In recent times, few movies from other industries have been remade in Malayalam and among these only a rare few such as Ashraf Hamza’s Thamaasha and Anjali Menon’s Koode have clicked. The reason being that these remakes already had the rooted-to-reality elements that resonated with the Malayalam audience and were also adapted keeping in mind the sensibilities of the viewers.

A poster of Pakalum Pathiravum
A poster of Pakalum Pathiravum

The filmmakers didn’t go overboard to stylise it or give it a massive spin, and instead kept the essence of the story and emotions intact. In that way, Pakalum Pathiravum, which is based on the Kannada play Aa Karaala Ratri that was made into a Kannada film by Dayal Padmanabham who is also credited with the story of the Malayalam movie, had potential. But right after the first 15 minutes, where the camera unwantedly focuses on a poster of Mammootty from Bheeshma Parvam, you know that the film pays more attention to these elements than trying to make use of its promising premise.

The underlying thread of Pakalum Pathiravum, scripted by Nishad Koya, is about a stranger who ends up in a village near a forest and decides to stay the night with a family, who are struggling to make ends meet. That the stranger carries money, gold and a gun with him, further adds to the intrigue – especially when the family members are trying to find a way out of the hell they have found themselves in.


But Ajai Vasudev’s direction fails to capitalise on these elements to build the tension the film needed to work. Instead, the maker seems to be more focused on adding ‘mass’ elements through its loud and intrusive music as well as slow-motion shots. It has all the signature aspects of the director, who had previous helmed ‘massy’ entertainers such as Masterpiece and Shylock, but that’s hardly the treatment that a film, which required its characters and situations to maintain the suspense, needed.

The unconvincing intrusion of forest officers every now and then, for instance, seem convenient in the story – especially when the family has its plan in motion. While this can be forgiven, the forced dialogues and lacklustre acting of the supporting cast makes it all the more jarring.

Kunchacko Boban’s role is more of an extended cameo in the film, where his character is positioned as a victim more than a threat. Rajisha is the only shining light in the movie, which has her pulling off a chilling performance. However, it’s unfortunate that how the events in the movie are conceived and shown don’t complement her intensity. The melodrama of the father and mother – essayed by Manoj KU and Seetha – also doesn’t make you sympathise with any of the characters or the shocking ending. To make it worse, the makers decide to play out the ending twice and add a tail-end portion – to further show how devastating an act of greed can be – but that too fails to move the audience.

Verdict: In the hands of a director adept at handling realistic thrillers, Pakalum Pathiravum would have been a riveting watch. But this film has too many unwanted cinematic elements and fails to focus on its intriguing premise.