Cast: Biju Menon, Dileesh Pothen, Saiju Kurup, Sudhi Koppa, Basil Joseph, Anu Sithara, Lijo Jose Pellissery
Director: Rafeek Ibrahim
The gangster genre has been a favourite through the decades for cinema lovers. Be it a small-time goon or a powerful don, they’ve all got tales of their exploits to keep us hooked to the screen. Padayottam has both — a local goon Chengal Raghu from Thiruvananthapuram, played to perfection by Biju Menon, who is pitted against a powerful don from Kasaragod called Samad, played by Rahul Dev. What makes this gangster movie directed by newbie Rafeek Ibrahim stand out are the huge dollops of rib-tickling comedy present throughout the film. They say laughter is the best medicine and by the time the end credits roll, rest assured, you would have guffawed more in those two hours and some minutes than in the entire week. Padayottam can also be called a road movie that travels through the various districts in Kerala with each dialect being showcased.
Dileesh Pothen plays Senan, who has as his friends Saiju Kurup (Sreekuttan), Sudhi Koppa who plays Renju and Basil Joseph (Pinku). It is Pinku who sets the entire chain of events in motion when he gets manhandled by an unknown person in a fancy car. He lands up in the hospital with a broken arm and injuries and his friends vow to take revenge. Their only clue is a password-protected phone that belonged to the attacker with his profile picture. The foursome discover that their perpetrator lives in Kasaragod and since they have a problem with logistics, enlists the help of Chengal Raghu.
Chengal Raghu’s introduction scene — riding in on a Bullet sporting a full beard with a ‘katta’ look on his face and wearing a mundu — can only be termed ‘mass’. Raghu is held in high esteem by those living in his colony and across the Gunda community, having fought 33 men single-handedly. But Raghu has an Achilles heel – his mother played by Sethulakshmi, who is the only one who can cut him to size. Raghu and Senan’s motley crew proceed to Kasaragod to avenge their friend Pinku and the journey is one laugh riot unspooling. There is mishap after mishap befalling them, forcing them to travel in a car, then a local bus, then by foot and finally a tempo to reach their destination. In between their travel, local goons like Lijo, who play Britto and Baba, played by Suresh Krishna, offer them food and stay.
The situation takes a twist when the much-feared don Samad takes Pinku and Raghu’s mother as hostages under a mistaken notion that Raghu and team have kidnapped his son Dulquer Salmaan, played by Ganapathy. Does the motley bunch manage to save their loved ones? Watch the comedy of errors unfold as they go about their mission. The twist in the climax is a surprise. What stands out is the perfect symphony between the actors be it their comic timings, repartees or situational comedy. Biju Menon proves yet again that any role is safe in his hands. Dileesh, Lijo and Basil prove that they can give any actor a run for his money. Saiju is effortless using his face and repartees to evoke laughter. Sudhi is a natural as also is Ravi Singh, who plays the villain. The camera work is mind-blowing and the music good. For a debutant, Rafeek has done an excellent job and deserves applause. A must-watch film to laugh your heart out....