Puzhu Movie Review: In almost other movies of his, whenever we see Mammootty appear on screen, there is a sense of assurance that everything is alright with whatever is happening on screen. But there are those rare times when Mammootty dons those grey shades and we are petrified and worried as to what he would do next. Vidheyan, Paleri Manikyam, Munnariyippu are all such fine examples of how Mammootty excels in negative roles. Now add Puzhu to that list, as the veteran National Award winning superstar shoulders a slow-paced narrative with an incredible performance. Salute and Puzhu: Father-Son Duo Mammootty, Dulquer Salmaan Head to OTT With Their Upcoming Malayalam Films.
Kuttan (Mammootty) is a police officer and a widower who stays in a posh apartment along with his son Kichu (Vasudev Sajeesh Marar). His overprotective nature and authoritative methods suffocates his young son who wishes his father to be dead.
Kuttan starts to feel that someone is trying to kill him and he is suspicious of everyone. His paranoia is accentuated by the fact that his younger sister Bharati (Parvathy) comes to stay in a nearby flat along with her drama artiste husband Kuttappan (Appunni Sasi). Kuttan is estranged with his sister after she elopes with her lower caste paramour, something Kuttan's UC pride still hasn't able to come to terms with.
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The slow nature of Puzhu isn't everyone's cup of tea, and at times even I felt things are getting stagnant somewhere. But there is this persistence to see the payoff, thanks to having once wowed in a similar manner with cinematographer Venu's excellent directorial Munnariyippu that came out in 2014. The payoff here isn't as good as Munnariyippu, and the final scene felt a little underwhelming.
But if you overlook the fact the final act doesn't have a mind-blowing twist, there are some very interesting and often effective little payoffs. Like how the title 'Puzhu' crawls its way to significance in Kuttan's story, paralleling a Mahabharata story that is also a play in the movie. Or why Kuttan keeps pausing a home video he regularly watches with his son, at one particular moment and never watches after that. The only thread that I felt was weaker in comparison was the mystery around the questionable murder attempts on Kuttan's life, which, like I said before, didn't pay off well.
Where debut director Ratheena shows his proficiency is in creating the paranoid episodes for Kuttan that peels away layers of his disturbed mind for all of us to see, especially in the scenes with his son.
I was also invested in the storyline of Bharati and Kuttappan, whose inter-caste marriage offers an interesting mirror to society's judgemental attitude towards such couple, at times being quite nonchalant about it. Kuttappan, through his one-man-acts and commentaries, provides some wise insights into why casteism can never be absolved from the society. I loved the scene when Bharati returns to ancestral house after a long time, and how Kuttappan walks her out of there taking her hand in his, as her snobbish relatives looked by. That's massy in its own way.
Even when Bharati optimistically hopes for a reconciliation with her brother, Kuttappan is wiser to know better. Though while Puzhu starts off with this couple, they take on a more secondary role once Kuttan and his son enter the story. That said, their final scene with Kuttan is quite well-done, when his paranoid nature clashes with his abhorrence for his brother-in-law's caste. Bheeshma Parvam Movie Review: Mammootty’s Invincible Swag Provides Some Cheer in Amal Neerad’s Predictable Blend of Mahabharata and The Godfather.
The main reason, however, that you end up bearing the slow nature of the screenplay is the brilliantly unpredictable performance of its lead star. Mammootty makes his character feel like a dormant volcano, who spews smoke and mud, but we are terrified of how and when he would burst out. When that happens, we are left shocked because of the nature of how that happens.
The superstar does complete justice to depicting paranoia and skewed egoism of Kuttan, while also making us almost pity his fractured nature. Like his conversations with his bedridden mother, where he imposes his thoughts and feelings on her without bothering to know what she needs. Or that scene with his son, where he is nearly breaks down in front of his son when Kuttan thinks Kichu is poisoning. This is one of Mammootty's best performances in recent times. One slight flaw is that despite his fit nature, age is definitely catching up with the superstar that he feels tad unbelievable to be playing father of a pre-teen boy or Parvathy's brother for the matter. As someone who grew up watching Mammootty's films, that is a little heartbreaking realisation indeed about ageing indeed. Not helped by the fact that Puzhu also features another posthumous appearance from the late Nedumudi Venu. Growing up is a b*tch.
Parvathy Thiruvothu underplays her role well, though I wish she had more to do with her part. As her husband, Appunni Sasi is fantastic, again making me wish there was a a movie purely focussed on their characters.
- Neat Direction and Some Shocking Moments
- The Final Scene is Underwhelming
Puzhu deserves a patient watch, and isn't as brilliant as Munnariyippu, that would be the first benchmark of comparison here. But the movie springs up some neat surprises, and depends nicely on Mammootty's fabulous performance. This one is for Ikka fans who love him when he goes against type, and I am one such person (not that I don't enjoy when he goes massy in a actual entertaining movie). Puzhu is streaming on SonyLIV.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on May 13, 2022 12:09 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).