Reviewer : Chandra Mohan Gopinath
The topic discussed in Pathemari, the new movie directed by Salim Ahmed cannot stake a claim for freshes in content still it touch the bottom of our heart. Some outstanding performances and simple narrative makes the movie a brilliant one. A nice family movie that dwell upon relationships and realizations, the film explore the adventurous journey of the protagonist to Persia in a Pathemari to earn his bread and support his family.
For people of our generation, Dubai and Middle East are a funda zone now with all those hi-tech and fast development happening in that part of the world. But there is another side to this too. People who migrated sometime back when migration to Gulf region was not a common thing will have lot of things to say. The hardships and struggles they encountered to reach their destination and in finding a job, meeting the demands of the families back home and keeping them happy; all these were no mean task and that too at the cost of sacrificing their life.
Pathemari narrates the life of one such man named Pallikkal Narayanan who is one of the early migrants to the gulf and spend a good fifty years of his life there solely for the purpose of meeting the financial commitments of his family that includes a big line up starting from his elder brother and his sisters.
Salim Ahmed quite convincingly tell the story without too much drama in just under two hours. The pace is slow, agree but it doesn’t cast a dark shadow pulling the film down. Some finer and touchy moments bring about a positive vibe in the film. Dialogues were quite nice and screenplay both coming from the director himself did that extra element in boosting the apt feel and flow for the film. There are clichés that you normally see from characters like these and from movies that tell such plots but they are acceptable and can be ignored considering the overall depth in the plot and presentation. Characters were established well before going into the bottom of the story.
Now to the performance part. Performance is one of the major contributing factor that lifted the film and to top it all, we have Mammootty delivering an impressive performance as Pallikkal Narayanan. Before the release, I read a statement that we cannot see Mammooty but only the character of Narayanan in the film. His performance here is a true testimony to that statement and underlining that claim from the director.
Credit also goes to Jewel Mary who played wife to Mammootty’s Pallikkal Narayanan. This is her debut film though Utopiayile Rajaavu was her first release. The actress didn’t show any signs of nervousness sharing screen with one of the superstar.
If a character with depth and emotion is a presence in the film, there is no other choice than Sidhique. Though not a meaty role, the character do have some touching dialogues to act and deliver. Without any doubt, he was at his usual best in that. His son Shaheen makes his tinsel town debut through Pathemari. Though he is no match for an established actor like Sidhique, being a newcomer he was okay playing son to Mammooty.
Rest of the actors like Sreenivasan, Joy Mathew, Sunil Sugadha and the rest did their part on the supporting side. As I said, performances play a big part here with each actor contributing as per the demands of the character entrusted to put the film on the right path.
Being a low budget movie, certain areas have been compromised like the visual effects done quite lamely. Cinematography by Madhu Ambat was just okay while edits were not bad. Bijipal did a neat job with the songs that blended perfectly well with the movie and its content. Sound design by Oscar winner Resul Pookkutty added additional dimension to Pathemari.
Overall, I was impressed with Pathemari and Salim Ahmed just like his previous two movies. Pathemari can definitely be added to some of the recently released films that could create a good impact with the audience. Its not a movie that can be called as an “award movie” but a higly watchable commercial and family film without the normal colour and loudness that is commonly associated with the such films.
All those who have family members moving to the gulf and coming back for vacation say two decades back and for all those early inhabitants to Persia, Pathemari and its story will easily make a connecting link with them.