Despite its limited screen time, Pidikittapulli feels stretched because it’s just a story built upon caricaturish characters, amateur dialogues and slapstick comedy that falls flat more often than it works
Story: On the day, Shambu and his girlfriend Ashwathy are planning to elope, a previous acquaintance, Sudhakaran, of her father Ramachandran Kurup comes to meet him. Little does Sudhakaran know that on the very same day, his son Shivan and aide Disney are planning to kidnap Kurup. What follows is a comedy of errors as three parallel tracks in the story progress with Sudhakaran and Kurup being mistaken for each other.
Review: Pidikittapulli’s debutant director Jishnu Sreekandan, after finishing its shoot almost two years ago, had revealed that the film would remind the audience of the Malayalam comedies of the 80s. These films were strung together by fast-paced incidents that worked more as comedy sketches that kept on presenting one funny scene after another. Even though that might have been what Jishnu and the film’s scriptwriter Sumesh V Robin were aiming at, what the audience finally gets is a less competent version of slapstick comedies from the 2000s such as Pulival Kalyanam and Romeo.
Pidikittapulli, which is streaming on Jio Cinema, has three parallel tracks – involving Shambu (Sunny Wayne) and Ashwathy (Ahaana Krishna), who are planning to elope, Ashwathy’s father Ramachandran Kurup (Major Ravi) and his previous driver Sudhakharan, who returns to seek what the former owes him, and Shivan (Anoop) and Disney (Saiju Kurup), who try to kidnap Kurup. All of these characters are present at the same time at the same place, when the kidnapping attempt goes wrong, leading to a case of mistaken identity and consequently, a comedy of errors. Throw into the mix a bodybuilder (Lalu Alex), who aspired to star as Hanuman in the Ramayana series, and it makes room for more comedy.
But that’s all there is to the movie; despite its screen time of less than two hours, Pidikittapulli feels stretched because it’s just a story built upon caricaturish characters, amateur dialogues and slapstick comedy that falls flat more often than it works. Given that the team had begun working on the script almost four years ago when similar films such as Mudhagauv had released, it also feels dated and some of the dialogues of a bonehead police officer (Bheeman Raghu) is also crass.
Lalu Alex and Saiju Kurup make the most of the material they are offered in the comedy. While Saiju’s look is just a greasepaint short of a clown’s, his earnest performance does eke out a few laugh-out-loud moments in the movie. Same goes for Lalu Alex, who keeps proving that his comic timing is still up there – irrespective of how ridiculous the character is. Their scenes together – especially after a stoned Madhavan (Lalu Alex) sees Raavan in Saiju Kurup – is probably the best in the film apart from Saiju figuring out he’s nabbed the wrong person.
Anoop, who plays the kidnapper Shivan, also puts on a notable performance in the film, which has hilarious cameos of Jude Anthany Joseph and Praveena. The main cast though – Sunny Wayne, Ahaana Krishna and Baiju Santosh – under deliver, mostly because the makers couldn’t utilise them better even in those little sketches within the plot. The twist in the denouement also seems forced in the movie, further slowing it down.
Verdict: Pidikittapulli, a brainless comedy of errors, doesn’t make use of its seasoned cast and relies on an amateurish script and slapstick humour to do all the work. Apart from a few scenes by Saiju Kurup and Lalu Alex, the comedy never hits the sweet spot and the three-parallel-track storyline ends up as an avoidable, confounding mess.