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Panthayakozhi Panthayakozhi

Panthayakozhi – Review

Behindwoods Movie Review Board
Movie review

Starring: Narain, Pooja, Sudheesh, Geetha, Madhu, Janardanan, Rami Reddy

Direction: M A Venu

Music: Alex Paul

Production: J P

It was the last of the movies to arrive during the Deepavali week and had an inconspicuous entry at the box office. Of course, one can’t expect much fan fare for a film that was originally made in Malayalam around 18 months back and has been dubbed into Tamil. The factor that prompted the makers to do so is of course Narain’s growing popularity in Tamil Nadu courtesy the Anjathey success. Panthayakozhi (same name in Malayalam) had been a festival release in 2007 in Kerala pitted against the biggest stars. It was seen as Narain’s opportunity to enter the league of young guns set to take over as generation next.

One really wonders whether the movie was originally made with an intention of dubbing it into Tamil, the cast has a very heavy Kollywood flavor, one doesn’t really feel that this is a Malayalam product. Panthayakozhi follows the story of a young man who loses his father early in life and has to grow up at his maternal uncle’s place along with his mother. All is well and both mother and son seem to have overcome the grief that had clouded their earlier years. But an old friend of his father turns up unexpectedly to fulfill his last wish and once again Narain is brought back by fate and an unscrupulous uncle to the place where the ghosts of his past still wander. Truth is revealed and he discovers that his father’s death was no accident. Blood boils, rage rises and revenge is the only thing on his mind. In the interim he also meets Pooja who also has had bitter experiences at the hand of the same perpetrator, who, as it turns out is a hardcore criminal. Going by the old adage of ‘an enemy of your enemy is your friend’, Narain and Pooja hit it off and you know that romance is just round the corner and as expected revenge is the culmination, what else?
If you think that the storyline sounds archaic, then you are spot on. One would have expected this sort of fare somewhere in the mid 70s when Amitabh Bachchan exemplified the angry young man type of roles. The debutante director cum script writer seems to have got stuck in a time warp; he ought to have realized that the subject he was working on had long become obsolete in all languages. At least Lal, the experienced director, actor and producer that he is should have been able to see through the weakness of the script. There is lots of violence, crude fights, loud sounds, strong worded dialogues and everything stereotypical. But one can find a few bright spots if one wants, especially scenes involving Pooja and Geetha, who plays Narain’s mother. At best, the movie is not repulsive and can make for passive viewing if one is really keen on watching a movie.

Performances –there’s not much to mention. Narain tries his best to carry the movie and shows glimpses of the really good actor that we saw in Anjaathey, Chithiram Pesudhadi and quite a few Malayalam movies. But the script and unimaginative direction don’t allow Narain enough freedom to unleash his potential. Pooja has, however, managed to turn in a pleasant performance. There is not much in terms of romance, but scenes where she demands Narain to wreak vengeance on her behalf leave a mark, similar things can be said about Geetha. V M C Haneefa is one of the silver linings of the movie with his precise comic timing. There are a few young men, who are familiar faces in Malayalam, who try their hand at comedy, it doesn’t work. Ramya Nambeeshan appears as Narain’s deaf and dumb sister. Rami Reddy, from Telugu, does the lead villain’s role and does exactly what a stereotypical script has given him. Metti Oli fame Venkat impresses in a cameo. Lal is wasted in a small role.

Overall, Panthayakozhi looks something straight out of the 70s minus the charm that make those movies dear to us. One wonders whether the dubbing has cost the movie some of its well made scenes, but there don’t appear to be too many flaws on that front. The blame rests squarely on the script. Narain could have well done without this release, not an ideal follow up to Anjaathey. At the box office, when more contemporarily made commercial entertainers are falling like nine pins, Panthayakozhi doesn’t stand a chance.

Verdict - outdated

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