Riding on a realistic plank, 'Pada' is based on a real-life incident in the 90s linked to a protest by 'Ayyankali Pada', an activist group, against a government ordinance, which violated the rights of Adivasis on their land.
The prelude, the build-up that precedes the high drama and the culmination toeing the real-life incident has been captured in a balanced way.
The seamless blend of social cause and cinematic treatment is a highlight of the movie. The tale is narrated through protagonists led by Kunchacko Boban, Dileesh Pothan, Vinayakan and Joju George.
You may miss a mass appeal as its thrust is on a naturalistic depiction of events. But there is a lot to enjoy in the aesthetic charm of the ultra-realistic depiction of the story. The crowd, the dialogues and sounds popping in from outside the frame and the visual details add up to the beauty of the movie.
The heat of the drama is felt right from the beginning as Balu (Vinayakan) makes the moves to execute the 'mission' by shifting his family to a different place and embarks on his journey towards the target destination. As the other members of the group together proceed with their clandestine operations the plot provides sort of edge-of-the-seat experience and time flies by.
The ensemble cast is another piece of brilliance extraordinaire. The characters are well-etched and the actors have taken utmost care to maintain the range within the framework.
Vinayakan stands class apart in registering the vehement, deep-rooted sentiments of the downtrodden as well as in conveying their pain for being denied their due. Meanwhile, Kunchacko Boban as Ragesh portrays the angst of an activist fighting for justice. Joju playing very close to his character is also a protestor, yet sober and light at heart.
While Dileesh Pothan's character of Narayanan Kutty is a person known to his close social circles yet goes underground to join a protest using violence.
Amongst all it's Arjun Radhakrishnan, playing the role of the collector Ajay Dange, who steals the show. He has been able to fully convey the urgency, the turmoil, the stress and the nerve-wracking tension of a highly placed official with an extreme conviction of his duty and jurisprudence.
The BGM elevates the mood and gels well with the surround sounds producing a mystic symphony in certain scenes.
KM Kamal has once again proved his brilliance in pulling off a serious, thought-provoking piece of artwork.