Padayottam review: Laugh out loud with dud gangsters

Biju Menon's Padayottam: what to expect
Biju Menon plays a local goon named "Chengal Raghu" in the movie.
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Wry Thiruvananthapuram wit at its peak – that is Biju Menon-starrer Padayottam in a nutshell. But then the plot takes us, along with the protagonist and his bunch of jobless friends who love to proclaim their macho charisma, or lack of it, all over the state.

So, Padayottam turns out to be a road movie as well.

But unlike the tiring journey they undertake to and fro, from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod, Padayottam would not at all droop the viewer for sure. Instead, it gains momentum from the word go. If you have a bunch of loony men who have nothing much to do in life, the plot of Padayottam is an ideal way to take them forward. There is the spark of romance that drives many of them, but then that isn't even the subplot.

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A roadside romeo, Pinky, played by Basil Joseph, who is familiar to us as the director of Kunjiramayanam and Godha, is the trigger that drives the plot initially.

A heartbreak and subsequent booze session of Pinky with friends scale the plot to a road trip undertaken by his friends to Kasargod – the motive being revenge.

Pinky somehow gets thrashed by someone who hails from the northern most district and ends up with multiple injuries in the hospital.

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And his friends, led by actor director Dileesh Pothan, vows to avenge the humiliation, come what may. The only hazard they face is the distance. Here, they need the machismo, 'contacts' and expertise of a thug, gangster or whatever you may call it to fulfill that task, as they do not know the person who has bundled Pinky to the hospital bed.

The only tool that could take them to Kasargod is a mobile phone of the Pinky's tormentor, which also somehow ends up with Pinky, probably during a brawl. This is how Biju Menon, aka Chengal Raghu, yet another jobless chronic middle-aged bachelor, comes into play in the plot.

Though their journey takes them through most of the districts, three places where locals pronounce the language in distinct ways stand out in the journey – Kochi, Thrissur and Kasaragod – and play a key role in weaving the spirited plot.

Script writers Arjun AR and Ajai Rahul have invoked slang as a key tool to conjure up the overwhelming element of sarcasm needed to power a gangster comedy. Situational misunderstandings that trigger a chain reaction of events laced with humour is the driving force of Padayottam.

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And debutant director Rafeek Ibrahim has flaunted his skills right from casting to almost all elements needed for a comedy potboiler.

All the actors have excelled in their roles, but director Basil Joseph as the character who becomes the trigger for the chain reaction of events and situations needs special mention.

Rafeek Ibrahim's debut movie has a sprinkling of the films created by three directors who act in Padayottam – Dileesh Pothen, Lijo Jose Pellissery and Basil. But then there is no room to complain.

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Gangster comedy buffs would not have to deal with a dull moment watching Padayottam. Only that if you are at ease with hardcore Thiruvananthapuram slang, you would enjoy it a notch better than others.

Even otherwise, Padayottam is sure to be a scintillating experience of the reel kind, wrapped in humour, sarcasm and outlandish twists and turns. Laugh out loud.

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