‘Pachuvum Athbhutha Vilakkum’: Fahadh Faasil impresses in Akhil Sathyan debut

The movie directed by Akhil Sathyan features Fahadh Faasil in the lead. Photos: Imdb

In his directorial debut, ‘Pachuvum Athbhutha Vilakkum’, Akhil Sathyan has played it safe following the footsteps of his father and brother to make a feel-good movie which has almost all the elements to hook the theatre-going Malayali families. It, once again, works too.

The film draws largely from the Sathyan Anthikad legacy – a middle class Malayali hero, his struggles, support system and survival wrapped in humour and laced with emotions – and is presented in a package that looks new and colourful, just like Anoop Sathyan’s 2020 debut ‘Varane Avashyamund’.

‘Pachuvum Athbutha Vilakkum’ has a lovable hero, his perfect parents, a life lesson he learned from a mistake in the past, and his determination to grow. Then there’s a feisty old woman, her filthy rich son and a helpless girl. The plot, after floating around the life of the protagonist in Mumbai and Kerala offering some mirthful moments, gets into serious business as the young man and the old woman meet each other. The incidents following a train journey the two take from Kerala to Mumbai make the rest of the film. The setting then is shifted to Goa where the bachelor hero meets the bold-looking heroin who also has a share of problems -- a personal tragedy and a toxic relationship.

Fahadh Faasil plays Prashanth (Pachu), who runs an ayurveda clinic in Mumbai, with ease. The virtues and vulnerabilities of Pachu are safe with the actor in Fahadh. He has played similar characters in the past and his mannerisms, timeliness and dialogue delivery were just enough to conquer the viewers yet again. He gets a deadly combo in the film with Althaf Salim who plays Pachu’s assistant at the pharmacy. Althaf’s antics, reactions and one-liners made his character the best when it comes to comedy in the film. The sequences involving Mukesh, Innocent and Srikant Murali looked straight out of the Anthikad filmdom, for all their effectiveness and faults.

The surprise among the performances comes from Viji Venkatesh, who plunged into acting after a long career in cancer patient care. Viji essays the role of Ummachi, the sophisticated, multilingual and kind-hearted Muslim woman whose strange behaviour shifts the pace of the narrative. Viji has convincingly played the role, delivering her transformations with elan. Anjana Jayaprakash pulls out an impressive performance as Hamsadhwani, a designer working in Goa. The interactions between Pachu and Hamsadhwani form fun, delight and drama. Dhwani Rajesh could portray the innocence and helplessness of the teen girl around who the plot is centred while watching Avyukt Menon as the cute and funny little boy on his way back to Mumbai from Sabarimala was a joy.

The setting in Goa gave the film a fresh feeling. The director explored Goa, beyond its beaches, and turned his camera into the less-noticed interiors and ghettos of the coastal state. The film, despite its humorous progress, could have been trimmed here and there. The debut director, being the editor, perhaps did not want to leave anything out.

It has a predictable climax, but the progress until there is engaging. The background score has some musical brilliance, though the songs don’t leave any impression.

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