Staring : Vijay Sethupathi, Jai Prakash, Sneha, Ishwarya , Neelima, Sneha, Attakathi Dinesh
Director : Arun Kumar
Music : Justin Prabhakaran
Production : Magicbox Films
Debut director S.U. Arun Kumar’s tale is about the bonding that exists between a ‘Pannaiyar’, who is a much respected man in the village, and his car. This car becomes the cynosure of all eyes in the village and the tale is primarily about Pannaiyar’s family, their driver Murugesan and how their ‘Padmini’ car holds such a special, irreplaceable place in their lives.
Vijay Sethupathi is back after last week’s Rummy, where he was more like a second lead. But here Vijay is in the thick of action and puts up a convincing and typically lifelike performance as Murugesan, the driver who works at the Pannaiyar household and is almost like their son. The movie also has a little romantic angle for Vijay with a girl in the village, played by Iyshwarya Rajesh, who is another actor who was recently seen in a pivotal role in Rummy.
Pannaiyarum Padminiyum (PP) is majorly about the beautiful relationship that exists between Mr. and Mrs. Pannaiyar, played wonderfully by Jayaprakash and Thulasi. Such a mature yet playful romance hasn’t been shown in a more convincing manner in recent times.
Jayaprakash shows his diverse range as an actor and takes the center stage for a change, after donning support roles in most of his movies. Thulasi is establishing herself firmly as a superb onscreen mom and wife. She will soon be competing with Saranya Ponvannan, who has been the ‘certified loving mom’ all along, for most of our lead heroes.
Young comedy actor Bala Saravanan puts up a naturally hilarious show as ‘Peeda’, Murugesan’s sidekick. This young man makes it look so easy with his repertoire of skills. Bala enlivens the proceedings with his antics.
Neelima Rani plays Pannaiyar’s ever-demanding, irksome daughter and her role plays a part in offering a fitting resolution to the tale. The actor who plays her good-for-nothing husband is another character who makes a mark without even uttering a line. ‘Attakathi’ Dinesh and Sneha are neat additions to the cast, in cameo roles.
Composer Justin Prabhakaran impresses with his lilting melody tracks such as ‘Onakkaga Porandhene’ and ‘Enga Ooru Vandi’. ‘Onakkaga Porandhene’ is a poetic story by itself and the Jayaprakash – Thulasi relationship is reestablished and cemented more with this number. Justin also shows prowess with the all-important background score which gels with the proceedings.
The standout aspect of Gokul Benoy’s work on the camera is the way he showcases the car as an important character in the movie and also the manner in which he has handled all those shots inside the Pannaiyar household and surrounding it.
Among the blips, the movie is snail-paced and the scenes are repetitive thanks to the limited nature of the movie’s plot. The movie’s running time of more than 150 minutes could have easily been cut short and the tale could have been made crisp and concise. Nowadays, an ideal movie runs for just more than 2 hours and PP could have very well fallen in that category with a little more sprucing.
But ultimately, PP doesn’t make one restless or exasperated and will in fact ensure that the movie-goer leaves the hall smiling. After more than 2 and a half hours of solid time spent in the hall watching a movie, the least one expects is a nice feel-good ending. Arun Kumar has definitely managed that and has done justice to his much-loved short film thanks to his remarkable lead cast.
Verdict – You may excuse the slow pace and give this one a watch as it has its heart in the right place and is packed with brilliant lead performances
Review : El Matador