Papanasam Movie


After seeing this Tamil movie (the remake of the Malayalam movie “Dhrishyam”), I felt compelled to write this piece. I have not written movie reviews of Tamil movies, and this is probably the first (I have to search my own blog to check out on this fact !).

Kamal Hassan is a wonderful, multi-faceted actor, and this movie brings out the best in him. He is so adept in slipping into the shoes of the main character (and that applies to most of his movies) that I was not surprised in the least about his impeccable performance as the cable TV operator in the small town of Papanasam.

The movie script is so well done and the dialogues are so well crafted that for the duration of the movie (almost 3 hours !), you feel transported to the scenes in Papanasam. The director Jeethu Joseph needs to be complemented for the wonderful manner in which he has steered the movie.

The actor who impressed me most in this movie (surprisingly) was the Inspector General of Police – Asha Sharath. Of course, one empathizes with her situation of having lost her only son and groping for information on his whereabouts. As a mother, her position is understandable. However, once she figures out that she is not going to find out the apparent truth from the examination of Kamal Hassan’s family and the various witnesses, she does two things – she reconstructs the time line by analyzing the flow of events carefully demonstrating that her police investigative training was not a waste of time; secondly, unable to prove anything, she resorts to what police always does – extract the truth by unauthorized violence perpetrated on a defenceless family.

Asha does a fabulous acting job in her role, and shows a steely determination to extract the truth about her son’s disappearance. She does not get the truth though she guesses it correctly.

The final 15 minutes of the movie resolves the suspense though in an oblique manner. It is rather sad that the police correctly suspects the murder was perpetrated by Kamal’s family but are unable to prove it. But that should not be an excuse for unleashing police brutality on a family.

And where was the evidence of the murder ? Right under the noses of the police all the time !

Great movie, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Hollywood adopts the storyline – a reverse knowledge transfer. I couldn’t find a similar movie from the West.

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan

16th August 2015

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