'Palthu Janwar', directed by debutant Sangeeth P Rajan, is a simple, humourous tale of a group of villagers whose lives revolve around their domesticated animals. Each and every villager takes great pains to raise their animals whom they treat as family. A simple stomach upset or a slight bruise is not treated lightly and if you don’t show the same amount of dedication, there are chances you will be greeted with a frown.
The movie, starring Basil Joseph, who plays a livestock inspector, does not bank upon a very ambitious plot to remind us of our link with these mute creatures. The plotline is simple. Prasoon (Basil) lands a job as a livestock inspector after his father’s death. Initially, he is not keen about taking up the job, especially since he is an animator at heart. However, his failure as an entrepreneur takes him to the village in Kannur, where he is forced to interact with the animals.
The multiple challenges he battles to survive amid a bunch of villagers who eye him with distrust form the crux of the story.
At the outset, it may seem just a feel good story, without much intention to play with our emotions. But as the movie progresses, you know it aims to be much more than that.
There is the veterinary doctor ( Shammi Thilakan) who treats his profession as a side business and a priest (Dileesh Pothen) who feeds on the villagers’ devout nature to survive and these are digs at certain blind beliefs in society. Indrans as a panchayat member who often seems to forget his responsibilities intentionally is a representative of the apathy of people’s representatives to their duties. The humour is spot on with almost every character capable of making us laugh.
The twist in the movie arrives when Prasoon, who is beginning to feel settled at the place, does something to shatter his self-confidence. Basil has been growing with each character he played in various movies and in ‘Palthu Janwar’, he is at his charming best. Johnny Antony, as usual, adds life to the story. At times, it is he who snatches away the limelight. Shammy’s mannerisms remind you of Thilakan, so much that you wish he had more to do in the movie, then just adding to the comic effect.
The natural landscape and the cacophony of the animals lend such beauty and charm to the story, which also has a political undertone. A scene where the butcher and the villager who owns a cow are at odds, make us ponder.
We have had several movies revolving pets and animals, and Palthu Janwar is more or less an attempt at teaching you that animals are also worthy of our emotion and care while reminding you that discussions surrounding animal welfare needs to grow louder, in these present times.