A Blog on Cinema

Review Roundup: Palunku


One of the best actors in India, Mammotty was seen last in Karutha Pakshikal doing what he does best – enacting serious heart felt roles. Now he is back again with Palunku with another exceptional performance. This movie also gives a hat trick for Blessy who made a great entry with Kazcha and followed it with Thanmatra. writes:

Mammootty gives a stellar performance as Monichan and he proves that he is just irreplaceable as far as such roles are concerned. New girl Lakshmi Sharma as Susamma is a good choice. The children Nazrin (as Geethu) and Niveditha (as Neethu) have done full justice to their roles. Jagathy Sreekumar as Soman Pillai and Nedumudi Venu as the teacher are quite impressive. All the others in the cast too have done well.

Technically the film is superb without the cinematographer (Santhosh Thundiyil of Krish fame) or the editor (Raja Muhammed) having to indulge in any gimmicks. The songs too jell with the theme and the situations. The star of the film however, is the director himself. Blessy has done an excellent job with the script as well as the direction.

Every element finds its way into the film – irony, allegory, sentiment, and humour – all in good measure without ever tending to be melodramatic or overtly sentimental. Palunku is a slice of contemporary life and has universal appeal. It is rarely that such films happen in mainstream Malayalam cinema. Hats off to Blessy for coming up with such a bold initiative without falling prey to the demands of the box office!

Sify says

Mammootty has slipped into the role of Monichan effortlessly proving that he is one of India’s best actors. In the first half he shows his gift for comedy and dramatic subtlety. The school scenes when he walks without making sound and his expression after he speaks his first word in English or the last scene when he has to convey the extremes of intensity and emotional fragility as he sees the body of his daughter, he is first class.

Blessy has scored a hat trick with Palunku (Crystal). He has once again asserted that he is a path breaking writer-director, one to be admired and applauded. Undoubtedly, he is the best director in Malayalam cinema who understands the social fabric and milieu of an average Malayalee.Blessy has also been able to derive top-class performance from not only his lead pair but also child artists and supporting cast. Mammootty as Monichan an illiterate middle class farmer with a sharp acumen who comes to the city and falls for its temptations is outstanding. And the new girl Lakshmi Sharma a model from Hyderabad looks fresh and steals the show with her outstanding performance as Susamma.

India Glitz and Sify seems to have got similar lines about Mammotty in the review

We live in a world of cynicism. But even in such times, sometimes a person or a film comes along and shows you a tiny crack in the fully lighted wall behind which you live, suddenly you get shocked on your late acknowledgement. One such film that makes you laugh, cry, and also makes you feel like a good human being is ‘Palunku’, the new film from Blessy. It gives a slice of contemporary life for people of all ages. With a narrative and theme, which are timeless and universal in appeal, it aims straight for the inherent hope and goodness in all of us. It shows things we have chosen to ignore in the run for greener pastures of life and makes you feel good about what you have. Told in an uncomplicated, sensible manner minus melodrama, cliches and glamour overkill, it is amusing enough to keep you in splits throughout, as the complex but simplified tale of life in two very diverse worlds collides.

Ratheesh writes

I have always felt that director Blessy is highly overrated. Immediately after his first film, Kazhcha, he was compared with Padmarajan. Kazhcha was a good-intentioned and well-made film with a lot of freshness, and I liked it very much when I watched it first time. However, when I watched this film second time, when it was shown on television, many of its shortcomings became obvious, and now I feel that it is just an “above-average” film. Blessy’s second film, Thanmathra, was a mediocre work. And now, Palunku is just barely watchable. There is five-second long scene in the film where they show a group of birds flying in the sky in background when Monichen talks about few things dreamingly. Except for this short clip, there is absolutely nothing in the film that is thematically new or fresh in its presentation style. Many a times, Blessy seems to be confused regarding what he has to say – Does he want to say that City Life is bad and villages are better? Does he want to portray the effects of greed on human beings? The sentences displayed during the climax scene indicate that Blessy’s main intention was probably to make a statement on the attacks on women in Kerala society. Haven’t there been far more better films like Kadavu and Bhoothakkannadi which have handled these themes in an artistically superior way? Blessy’s film doesn’t even entertain, and many times it stoops to the standards of a boring television serial.


  1. I agree with Retheesh when he say that Blessy is confused about the core theme of the movie. This confusion of Blessy is seen from his previous movie (Thanmathra) onwards. In Thanmathra, he made long, boring lecture sessions by Mohan Lal about good parenting. When a movie tell things like a book does, it loses its ‘cinematic’ charm. The samething happened with Palunku as well. The pre-release notes said the movie is about farmers’ suicide and I had high expectations, but the movie has nothing on that side except the news of Monichan’s neighbor’s death. While watching the movie, I thought its about an innocent villager’s migration problems and of being polluted by the city (it seemed so to the 3/4th of the movie). Then in the last half, we see its about child rape. And when we see the climax sentences, we wonder “so, is this what Blessy wanted to say?”

    Mamootty has done an excellent job, there is no question about that. But I wonder why did the director made him cry and cry in the climax scene. Also the climax scene where Mammootty is in the street weeping was totally unnecessary. Looks like the director told him “cry your way to the awards”. But I am sure he will win one for just one scene when he finds the body of his daughter in the telephone booth. He is, ofcourse, one of the finest actors in the country.

    Palunku is a watchable movie considering the craps we are being fed with these days.

    Blessy has to understand that he doesn’t have to handle a 100 themes in just one movie and make the viewers wonder what it was all about. Another thing I noticed is that all the child actors in his movies give us brilliant performances, Palunku is no exception. I think the only other director who has this magic to take out the best performance from child actors is Maniratnam.

  2. its kazcha not kazha

  3. Disappointing movie with poor direction and acting. Blessy needs to learn to convey his ideas more concretely, focusing on visuals rather than on dialogues. Mammutty’s performance albeit much appreciated by the folks reminds me of MGR/Sivaji era in Tamil cinema – especialy in the closing 10-20 minutes.

  4. It is really apity that Blessy along with the two kids and Mammotty criss-crossing in each and every channel, at least 2-3 times per channel for promotions of the movie. This was done by Kamal as well for K.Pakshikal. But public rejected it. This film, what ever be the quality, shows the Bubbling effect of Blessy’s creations in spite of having such huge promotions and that too with Mammotty who had most of his films flopped last year except, Turuppu Gulan. What is the bottom line, it is not star (except Lal for the time being) but entertainement value matters, not even quality (slow or paced), which is lost from the minds of public. Tanmatra was promoted by all the media and created discussions and counter discussions, by which only it could be lifted. This is real pity state of mallu movies, which everyone prefers to ignore.

  5. You Guys have Proved what I always thought about the Malayalam Movie Audience that you need every nook and cranny to be explained and spoon fed in your mouth like feeding a baby!!. If you ever watch an English Movie any Epic Movie it leaves a lot to the imagination of the viewer and does not necessarily give full description of every little thing. You seem to not Understand that in the Movie he tries to convey the Perils of Life and the social factors that influence that. It is not a message of whether one is good or bad!!. You are Comparing the Movie and yet you are comparing it to nothing. So according to you in Kazhcha the message would have been that Gujurati people are bad and Malayalee’s are good??. well whatever it might be look at the central theme of the movie next time around.

  6. Mind blowing!!!, 8 January 2007
    Author: chakaparam from U.S.
    How do you manage your expectations before seeing Blessy’s Palunku? Of course, he has made two path breaking films, ‘Kazcha’ and ‘Thanmatra’ but does that mean he has more rolled up his sleeve? What if you expect too much and the movie turns out to be a dud? These were some thoughts that ran through my head as I went to watch the film. As the film started rolling, all of it stopped and I started to absorb each and every scene in the film. At the end, all I could say was mind blowing!!!
    Blessy has done it again… All the characters are well etched out… I loved Mammooty as Monichan, the two little girls were exceptional, Jagathy was phenomenal, and Nedumudi was as usual good, and the real surprise was actor Thambi Antony, although he appears on screen for a short time, his character lingered in my mind as I left the theatre….so did every other scene in the film… Blessy, Great Job!!! Keep it up!!!!
    Best regards,
    Naveen C

  7. Blessy’s problem is that he’s totally unfocused and confused. At the end of the movie one’s left with a feeling of ‘what was that all about’. ‘puli pole vannu eli pole poyi’ types. Pretty much in every blessy movie.

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