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.
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!
Mammootty has slipped into the role of Monichan effortlessly proving that he is one of Indiaâ€™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.
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.