Nivin Pauly's 'Padavettu': A struggle between survival and ambition

Padavettu movie still
The movie is a thriller set in Malabar. Image: Video still

Every man's journey is his own, and so are his conflicts, struggles and victories. 'Padavettu' featuring Nivin Pauly is one such story, which sketches a man's internal turmoil and his spirit, or lack of it while living in society.

The abuse of power and petty politics are also brought to the fore in this political-survival thriller, which is set in Kannur’s Maloor.

Nivin plays Ravi, a former sprinter whose career turns topsy-turvy after an accident. Ever since then, his life becomes very mundane as he shuttles between his house and the milk society, where he goes to see the woman he loves.

He is an object of ridicule to people in his village as they perceive his idleness caused by his circumstances as his failure.  

Like Nivin Pauly and Aditi Balan said in Onmanorama Celeb Chat, the story is relatable. Nivin's Ravi represents those who feel lost by the weight of expectations around them. Such people may be perceived as good-for-nothing fellows, but what they have to live with becomes only their story.

  What is interesting about the movie is how the director Liju Krishna has tried to weave in one man's struggle with another man's crude political ambitions. When Koyalil (Shammi Thilakan), a scheming politician, with the backing of his party, decides to gain foothold in his village, he decides to use Ravi’s dilapidated house as his trump card. What ensues forms the plot of the story.

While the story is powerful and succeeds in pointing out the root cause of political and social evils, the second half of the film digresses from the plot, seeming bit forced and artificial. The story of a struggling, delusional man turns into something more political and preachy towards the end, as if the director had lost grip of the story.

The music by '96' fame Govind Vasantha is powerful and soulful. The visuals are also very pleasing to the eye. A few examples of symbolism are also seen in the movie, which draws upon Kannur's rich folk culture and politics. The attempts by Mohanan (played by Shine Tom Chacko) to kill a charging wild boar on his own can symbolise a man’s courage even when life catches one unawares. Several theatrical elements are also brought into play in the movie, most of which are set in the backdrop of the paddy fields in the village.

Nivin has yet again proved he is a wonderful performer, perfectly emoting the frustrations of a man who struggles to overcome his failures. Aditi Balan has done a good job with the little screen space given to her. As the scheming political leader, Shammi Thilakan captured our attention. ‘Nyan Prakashan’ actress Ramya Suresh, who plays Nivin’s aunt in the movie is also in her element in the movie. 

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