Banner: Revathy Kalamandhir
Cast: Sreenivasan, Padmapriya, Lalu Alex, Lal, Nassar, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Bijukuttan,
Sukumari, Sona Nair
Direction: Leo Thaddhevoos

Production: G Sureshkumar
Music: Alphonse Joseph

At times, you go to movies with the great expectations. Particularly when a new director shows up with a film, in his own title below story, screenplay and dialogues, and that too directing the veterans like Sreenivasan and immensely talented Padmapriya, you have all the reasons to expect a winner. After watching such an attempt by the debutante director and script writer Leo Thaddhevoos, an erstwhile associate to ace director Bhadran, in the new flick ‘Pachamarathanalil’ you are not all together knocked out by its narratives, but will feel an urge to appreciate it as a well made movie.

The film tells the story of Sachi alias Sachidanandan (Sreenivasan), a renowned cartoonist who is much popular as the creator of ‘Poompatta Princess’, a very popular cartoon character in a children’s magazine. Sachi leads a peaceful life with his beautiful wife Anu (Padmapriya) a government employee who is much obsessed with their 5 year old daughter’s studies. Their daughter Sneha, who is the cynosure of all eyes and attracts attention wherever she goes, is also the inspiration behind the creation of the cartoon character ‘Poompatta’

Following a dance performance in her school, Teny, an Advertisement film maker happens to notice Sneha and invites her to play the lead in his new advertisement film which is to be shot in Chennai. Sneha accepts the offer grace fully and seems enjoying and easy going like a professional actress in the entire sets, sometimes fooling around her father who is also accompanying the child. After a couple of days, the shoot crew makes a shift to Pollachi. But on the way to the new location, the entire shooting crew finds the child virtually vanished into thin air, that too on the highways from a speeding bus! Sachidandandan, shocked at missing his daughter, tries ways to find her, but with little clues to the happening.

The drama at the highways takes a curious turn when C I Venkitachal Aiyer (Nazar) reaches the scene to investigate the case. Within a short time, he claims that Sneha is not the daughter of Sachidandandan. The film goes on to tell what is the actually behind her missing and how they unearth ways to find her.

The basic premise of the story seems to be more interesting in paper than on screen, as usual with the recent Mollywood movies. The film holds a curious resemblance to Maniratnam’s classic ‘Kannathil Mutthamittal’ in its plot lines, even though the director Leo has tried ways to present it different. The first half of the movie is rather pacy but the second half is a tad slow with some lengthy flashbacks.

The impact of the story has been crippled by a casual narrative approach at some points. An attempt is made to make it an edge-of-the-seat thriller with the missing- child mystery and its associated suspense, maintained through out with the aid from spooky sound effects. As the story progresses the suspense element decreases, the film starts to drag a bit till the climax, where it is again back to predictable lines, offering least genuine tensions. The characters are all well etched, but the narration lacks feeling and maturity, particularly in the later sequences.

Coming to performances, Sreenivasan as Sachi is at home, presenting another character with ease and commendable restrain. He is particularly good, even though not at his best, in the timing of his witty one-liners and sounds natural all through. Padmapriya as Anu is cut out for the role, giving justice to every sequence. It is amazing the way she handles the role with needed intensity, and manages to connect with the audience. Suraj Venjaramoodu and Biju Kuttan provide the needed comic relief, playing the production controller Urakathu Jose and his manager Shivadasan. Lalu Alex makes another routine character as Alphy, a wild life photographer and friend of Sachi while Lal in a cameo, is wasted.

The other highlight of the movie is the rerecording by Alphonse Joseph, which even makes the badly conceived scenes of the movie, work big time. Among his three songs featured in the movie, ‘Janmathil’ and ‘Chithrathooval’ are hummable. Manoj Pillai has succeeded once again to bring life to some of the sequences with his mesmerizing shots. Joseph Nellikal in art direction has also given remarkable support in creating sets with the needed feel. A mention must also be made of Sunil Rehman, who has brought another refreshing pattern in costume designs.

On the whole, the attempt in ‘Pachamarathanalil’ is a novel one, which must be applauded particularly due to the fact that it is coming from a new comer. Sometimes, it may not enthuse the lovers of formula flicks, though it provides a good break away from such line of films.

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