Paapam Cheyyathavar Kalleriyatte Movie Review: A well-written, superbly-staged satire

Paapam Cheyyathavar Kalleriyatte Movie Review: A well-written, superbly-staged satire

Through Paapam Cheyyathavar Kalleriyatte, director Shambu Purushothaman takes apart two families by exposing their weaknesses and hypocrisies in spectacularly hilarious fashion 
Rating:(4 / 5)

After making his debut with the daring Vedivazhipaadu, director Shambu Purushothaman returns with Paapam Cheyyathavar Kalleriyatte, a relatively better written and sophisticated comedy in which he takes apart two families by exposing their weaknesses and hypocrisies in spectacularly hilarious fashion. 

Director: Shambu Purushothaman
Cast: Vinay Forrt, Tini Tom, Arun Kurian, Alencier Ley

Paapam Cheyyathavar Kalleriyatte begins with a potential bride's father handing over a suitcase of dowry to the groom's relatives. The latter prefers a low-key function because they're quite progressive, apparently. However, the boy's wish to speak to the girl is denied because in some matters they're orthodox. One character says, "There have been cases where speaking to each other has led to the wedding being called off."

Vinay Forrt and Tini Tom are brilliant as brothers-in-law who don't foresee the chaos that will soon disrupt their family. As some say, it's when you are at your most relaxed that sh*t happens. Vinay's intensity and the latter's deadpan delivery in certain situations complement each other very well. Sometimes a silent glance between the two can lead to comical results. When more interesting characters enter the picture, some people go a little crazy — one of them, we later learn, actually is.

Shambu packs his films with enough darkly humorous twists that one feels concerned about going further with the plot for fear of giving anything away. Paapam Cheyyathavar Kalleriyatte has much in common with Thomas Vinterberg's Danish film The Celebration in that both films are about families confronting harsh secrets during a special family function.

But Shambu's film is its own beast, with its own set of idiosyncrasies. The filmmaker brilliantly treats the engagement ceremony to present little vignettes about various characters present at the function. In effect, the entire event becomes a 'public' confession of sorts. The film treats us like a guest, taking us from one character to the next, intermittently revealing each of their secrets, before moving on to the next character.

Shambu isn't interested in finishing each of their stories in one go. He wants to prolong the fun and is helped by some phenomenal actors. Aside from Vinay and Tini, we get the superb Anil Nedumangad as a Devdas-type figure who evokes MG Soman and Venu Nagavally. Anil, who was also fabulous in last week's Ayyappanum Koshiyum, manages to evoke laughs with his 'shokam nayakan' act. The perpetually sad look and 80s hairdo contribute to the humour a great deal. At one point, an annoyed character tells him, "This is an engagement function, not a funeral."

But he is not the only one feeling awkward. Everyone gets their turn, sooner or later. Santhy Balachandran shines in a role that evokes the yesteryear performances of Revathi and Urvashi. Alencier Ley gets to be a part of a pivotal, twist-laden sub-plot that takes the film in unexpectedly comical directions.

With the help of cinematographer Jomon Thomas, Shambu opts for mostly single takes, thereby ensuring the uninterrupted flow of the narrative. The events in the foreground are given as much prominence as those in the background. The humour can sometimes come from the most unexpected of places, even from wedding photographers and band members. There is one particular moment where a drone operator accidentally captures a discreet moment that looks funny to us but shocking to the person discovering it.

The film is made more colourful by the presence of other wonderful actors such as Sunil Sukhada, Madhupal, Arun Kurian, Anumol, and Srinda. Each actor in Paapam Cheyyathavar Kalleriyatte has something significant to contribute and are not there just as embellishments. There is one fantastic, painting-like frame towards the end where all these characters are placed next to each other. Think twice before judging them, because, as the film's title says, "Let those who have not sinned throw the first stone."

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