Mohanlal’s performance seems to be the highlight of Pardesi. Reviewers are proclaiming that it’s a National award worthy performance. But then, acting ability is taken off as one of the criterion for national award, hence getting a national award would be a tough proposition. The story and treatment of the subject too receives reviewers appreciation.
The entire film revolves around Valiyakkathu Moosa, and Mohanlal lives the role. He is excellent as he plays the three stages of Moosaâ€™s character each with a different look and body language. Upright and unbreakable, he presides over the film like a torch whose burning is invisible to everyone except the viewer. It is a performance that is likely to get him a National Award. In the climax, watch the scene where the 85-year old Moosa loses his inner strength and panics seeing the police jeeps and tries to hide in his own house and the final shot of him trudging all alone in the desert and slowly disappearing in the distance is truly heart rendering. Mohanlal is mesmerising and reinvents the idiom of acting once more with feeling.
Watch out for Mohanlalâ€™s favourite item girl Shwetha Menon emerging as an actress of substance with a spirited performance as Ameena! From wearing minimal clothes on screen in bimbo roles, here she is terrific- dressed in thatta, mundu with long -sleeved blouse and walking with a Koonu( a stoop). Padmapriya as the fiery journalist is superb and proves that she is the actress of her generation. The others in the film are all realistic like Lakshmi Gopalasamy, Jagathy, Siddique, T.G Ravi, Haneefa etc. The music of the film by Ramesh Narayanan and Shahbaz Aman is another highlight, with its mixture of Hindusthani and Oppana. Thattum Pidichuâ€¦ sung by Sujatha is a beautiful melody, with typical Malabar flavour that one associated with past masters like Baburaj. And M.G Sreekumar, Vineeth Sreenivasan song Yara Dhuni Dhuniâ€¦. a picturisation of a Muslim marriages of the sixties in Malabar rocks!
If we take the case of Valiyakkathu Moosa (Mohanlal), the octogenarian has a lifetime of experience being hit like a ping pong ball from both sides. It has made him weary. He has also been marginalised by his own children fearing trouble from the powers that be. Living in fear of law can be one thing if you have the support of the close ones; it is another thing when you have to be floating in the fear with a lonely heart.
The director adopts an intelligent technique to unfold this torrid tale; it is shown as a freelance journalist researching the subject so we get different perspectives. But they are mainly from the victims’ point of view. It would have helped if there an effort made to gather the thoughts of law enforcers’ that would have made the subject more holistic. Here the police and lawyers are just an abusive lot trying to fleece the poor souls.
The only problem with this film (if we want to look at it that way) is that it is made with a technique that was entrenched in the 80s (the way films were made by the students of Film Institutes) with unnatural dialogue delivery and long pauses that feels jaded.
See Also:Â Preview: Paradesi
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