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Mammootty's Parunthu is lacklustre

Paresh C Palicha | July 21, 2008 13:54 IST

Parunthu, Mammootty's latest Malayalam film deals with the world of Blade Mafia (a term used for private money lenders charging exorbitant interest) that has become the bane of the middle class trying to be upwardly mobile. Directed by M Padmakumar, (his first with Mammootty), the effort is the most lacklustre of his four films.

Basically, it is a character-driven film without a story (written by veteran T A Razak) to support him. The intensity Mammootty puts into his performance is nothing short of thrilling. However, after the initial adrenalin rush, the realisation dawns that we are not moving forward.

Parunthu Purashu (Mammootty) is a ruthless money lender who would go to any extent in humiliating the borrower if he does not return the sum and the interest on time. This character is full of negative and villainous traits. And, as if to thicken the plot, there is a competitor in the form of a childhood playmate who had always defeated him in the game of soccer by cheating. The competitor is Aziz (Jayan, who acts as a poor imitation of Siddique). After establishing the character and the rivalry, the film goes into a limbo for a while and never returns to top form despite some thrills pumped in some portions before and after the interval.

The story goes like this: Parunthu spoils the betrothal ceremony of Rakhi (Lakshmy Rai) the daughter of a Gujarati businessman Hemanth Bhai (Jagathy Sreekumar), who owes Parunthu money. As a result of this, the engagement is called off, which unhinges Hemanth Bhai and his daughter. Aziz is then called in to save the day.

Sounds simple, right? But there is no fluidity in the proceedings. The scenes are all put up in a haphazard way so as to give us a false sense of pace. But, the repetitive dialogues jar and mar the flow of the narrative.

That said, we do see a couple of directorial flourishes in a couple of scenes like Parunthu devouring chicken legs in the beginning while watching a news story about a family suicide (his victims as a result of his threats of eviction if they fail to repay the loan) all the while justifying his actions.

In the second half the same dining area is enveloped in darkness (after a change of heart), the food is untouched as a way of expressing his of guilt that money is the be all and end all in life.

There are characters like the one played by Suraj Venjaramoodu who is supposedly there to spread mirth.

On the whole, Parunthu is very tough to be endured let alone to be enjoyed.

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