It is still Wednesday and before we begin our review, we at Popcorn Reviewss would like to wish you a Happy Onam. May we all prosper this new year while reviewing plenty of new films. And as I am told, Onam brings with it plenty of new Malayalam films. So amidst much excitement, I finished watching the new Malayalam film Paappan on Zee5. This is only the start of what is going to be a Malayalam Film Festival of sorts. So you will find me reviewing quite a few Malayalam films beginning with Paappan.
As always I knew very little about the film Paappan other than the fact that its name was floating in my Youtube comments section. And so I had a keen eye on its OTT release. The film did release on Zee5 albeit without English subtitles initially and hence the slight delay in the review. But before venturing into the film, I decided to glance through its synopsis and I did get to know that it is a serial killer film. My eyes did light up instantly as I am a huge fan of the genre which is pretty much like my daily staple(if I could call it one). After the English subtitles were reinstated, I decided to give the film a go! So then is Paappan worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Paappan is a twisted murder mystery which follows the story of an investigation on a bunch of grizzly murders. Now you will question me….Farhad what is so different in its story? The one-liner seems to be like any other murder mystery. Its answer lies in the screenplay which is almost 3 hours long. Initially, the length of the film did make me skeptical as I almost expected the film to lag in its narrative with that length. Earlier, another Malayalam film CBI 5 – The Brain had followed a similar fate. But here the screenplay consistently keeps you on your toes right through.
The drama instantly gets to the point right from its first frame. There is no buildup and the opening frame itself showcases the fate of one of the murdered victims. The investigation is on the money from the very first scene. There is a twist which appears once every 5 minutes thereby changing the scenario of the investigation. This was a crucial cog in keeping the viewers guessing right throughout.
Another interesting part of the narrative was its storytelling style. It is extremely layered wherein the drama oscillates TO and FRO frequently. But the difference is that it doesn’t jump timelines but instead it jumps minutes. So if a scene is enacted out, the events leading up to the scene follow immediately after. This technique is sure to divide the audiences. Everyone may not be privy to this type of a narrative which required your undivided attention throughout. It is a twisted drama with an even more twisted narrative. But I would like to say that this worked very well for me!
An integral part of the investigative drama is also to tie all the loose ends together thereby leading it to a logical conclusion. It is here that CBI 5 – The Brain had faltered. The final act was a complete letdown and it seemed disjointed from the rest of the drama. However here the final act is a satisfactory one lead by a series of twists and turns in its narrative that are gripping. It is next to impossible to guess the final culprit(even though the accomplice was relatively easy to guess). With about 30 minutes remaining, a reveal did take place which made me feel slightly letdown. But the final reveal did take place with about 10 minutes remaining, thereby making the final act satisfactory. The fight which ensues was a little dramatic but overall the screenplay was well written.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are cerebral and really well written and they do leave an impact. The music is soothing but it doesn’t deter the flow of the drama. The BGM could have been better here, a pulsating BGM was missing. The cinematography was a mixed bag too. While the top view of a car traversing through the hills with rain falling was superbly captured, the excessive use of slow-mos just stuck out like a sore thumb. It could have been used better to build an ambience to this twisted investigation. Director Joshiy does a pretty good job in keeping the audience guessing throughout despite the intimidating length of the drama. The fact that the drama was gripping right upto the end means it is a victory for the director.
The performances are really solid here. Nirmal Palazhi, Sania Babu as Nithya, Preetha Pradeep and Jewel Mary as Draupadi have their moments to shine. Abhishek Raveendran as SI Babu is first rate as is Chandunath as Sidhan and Kaniha as Michael’s mother. Nyla Usha as Nancy has a charming presence as does Dayyana Hameed as Rituparna. Malavika Menon as Fathima and Manasa Radhakrishnan are both splendid despite a limited screentime. Gokul Suresh as Michael is first rate in an underwritten role. Asha Sharath as Dr. Sherly is excellent. Ajmal Amir is outstanding in again an underwritten role. Neeta Pillai as ASP Vincy has a tremendous screen presence and she owns the screen every time she appears on it. The veteran Suresh Gopi as CI Abraham aka Paappan is excellent here and he brings a certain sense of calmness to his character which was refreshing to witness.
Paappan is a twisted murder mystery which will keep you hooked right until the end. This film would have got a higher rating if not for its minor technical flaws! Available on Zee5.