It is a start of another wonderful week and amidst the Monday blues, I still have a couple of leftovers from last week. And with that I finished watching the new Malayalam film Palthu Janwar streaming on Hotstar. Now films featuring animals are a rarity which is exactly why I look forward to them. It is not everyday that you get to watch films having a theme revolving around animals. Earlier in the year, it was the tear jerker 777 Charlie which had emerged as such a heartwarming and heartfelt film wherein I couldn’t stop crying hours after the film had ended. So when I got to know about this new Malayalam film Palthu Janwar premiering on Hotstar after a successful theatrical run, I was really excited for it. So then does the film Palthu Janwar manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Palthu Janwar follows the story of an aspiring animator who is forced into taking up a job of a compounder at a vet shed in a village. Little does he know that this would be an experience of a lifetime for him. The story is light, frothy and really heartwarming. The drama here never gets too heavy or melodramatic and is consistently breezy. The screenplay standing at a shade under 2 hours makes for a brisk watch wherein you are assured that the drama will not lag.
In the early minutes of the film, you are introduced to the protagonist who is shy and reserved wherein a part of him does seem to have surrendered to his fate. There will be many people who would find him relatable as well. Another piece of information what the viewer is given is that he is almost forced to take up the job of a compounder in a setting which is rather unknown to him. The world building here is organic which was reminiscent of the Hindi series Panchayat which did have a similar setting.
The humour is tactfully inculcated in the drama. And it is subtle and situational, so you will find yourself just smiling as opposed to laughing hysterically. The drama though is engaging and engrossing in terms of how the protagonist finds it hard to adapt to a surrounding which isn’t as friendly as he would have imagined. The politics at the grassroot level is also cleverly showcased here wherein the rules are not the same for everyone, particularly his superior who enjoys a side income along with his regular job.
There are plenty of heartwarming moments integrated in the screenplay. It starts off with the protagonist slowly warming up to the people in the village. There is a twist in the tale which almost disrupts the party in a very good way, keeping the drama rooted and organic. I say this because often writers are guilty of continuing the tempo of a particular emotion – say happiness as an example. So after a stutter, everything becomes rosy in many films. But here, a timely twist ensured that the drama was very realistic.
The extended final act does provide a platform which distinguishes the beliefs of people vs the things that actually need to be done. I did feel that this particular subplot had a little more scope and could have been explored better. This is because the realisation follows almost immediately after the conflict. But taking nothing away, it accounts for a beautiful relationship that was established between man and the animals in what was one of the most heartwarming scenes of the year where an cow does give birth to a calf against all odds. This perfectly sums up a screenplay that is heartwarming and has a feel good vibe to it.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are simple but really effective. The music is quite melodious and goes well with the drama and its setting. The BGM has a comedic tone to it that keeps the drama light and frothy. The cinematography is beautiful and captures some breathtaking frames. Director Sangeeth P Rajan does a spectacular job in keep the drama breezy but at the same time never dropping the intensity of it and thereby keeping the viewers engaged throughout.
The performances are excellent here. Shammi Thilakan as Dr. Sunil is first rate. Unnimaya Prasad and Athira Harikumar have their moments to shine. Sruthy Suresh as Stephy is wonderfully restrained. Indrans as Kochu has an impeccable sense of comic timing and he does a great job here in finding humour at unexpected places. Johny Antony as Davis os a delight to watch with a beautiful character arc too. Dileesh Pothan as the Father is spectacular. But it is Basil Joseph as Prasoon who shines with his sparkling act. He has such a disarming smile that he instantly puts a smile on your face too. He oozes of innocence but delivers such a heartwarming act that it has the potential to light up your day.
Palthu Janwar is a sweet little gem of a film that will put a smile on your face. Available on Hotstar and Highly Recommended!