Pada Movie Review: An engaging thriller with a social cause
Cast: Kunchako Boban, Vinayakan, Joju George, Dileesh Pothen, Prakash Raj, Arjun Radhakrishnan
Visualizing a real incident for the cinematic experience is a massive task that needs a clear-cut execution with thrilling moments and should successfully arouse a sense of curiosity in the audience. Pada ticks all the boxes and gives us a fine film that recreates the events that happened on 4 October 1996 by balancing between reality and fiction.
Pada is a brilliant retelling of the hijack of the collector’s office in Palakkad on October 4, 1996, where four men, who called themselves Ayyankali Pada, held the collector captive for more than 10 hours. Their intention was to create tension among those in power and fight against the inconsiderate laws that deprived Adivasis of their land rights. Pada is a powerful political statement that takes a jibe at how the changing government (especially the left regime who claims to be the messiah of the marginalized) misused its power and let the Adivasi community suffer.
The film narrates the entire incident from the day before the incident to the day after the incident and how the four men worked out their audacious plan. The four main characters are not some drama craving woke liberalists. They are aware of their actions and their consequences. They know what they are fighting for. While being held hostage, the collector throws some explanations and justifications at them to which the men give befitting replies, indicating that they have done their research. Their only intention is to be the voice for the voiceless. They are not ready to turn a blind eye as power play devours the marginalized community. Though the four main characters appear to be fearless, a tinge of nervousness is palpable in their facial expressions. But the enraged fists they raise as they declare their protest clearly make a statement.
Every actor lives up to the expectations. Kunchako Boban, Joju George, Dileesh Pothen, and Vinayakan who play the four protagonists are excellent in their performances and complement each other well. Unnimaya Prasad, Kani Kusruthi, and Indrans who make brief appearances also leave a memorable performance in Pada. Arjun Radhakrishnan who plays the collector being held hostage needs a special mention here. Amidst the powerful and radiant performances of the already credible actors, Arjun stands tall and doesn’t get lost in their strength. It’s just these five actors in the room and we feel claustrophobic only when the scene demands it.
Prakash Raj makes a come back to Malayalam cinema after a while as the Chief Secretary who mediates between the four men and the government.
A good job has been done with the production design and costumes as we get a convincing 90s vibe from the movie. The background score may not add much value to the tension but doesn’t pull it down either. Pada is a well-scripted and well-shot movie that engages us and exudes strong indignation and fearlessness. The film ends with some real video clippings of the incident and also gives a peek into the Adivasi suffering, indicating how even after 25 years, things haven’t changed much.
Watch on: Amazon Prime
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