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Kondraal Paavam Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Wednesday, March 8, 2023 • മലയാളം ]
Kondraal Paavam Review
Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Easwari Rao, Tiger Thangadurai, Santhosh Prathap, Manobala, TSR Srinivasan, Charle, Yazar , Subramaniam Siva, Meesai Rajendran, Kavitha Bharathi, Sendrayan, Imran, Jaya Kumar, Kalyani Madhavi
Dayal Padmanabhan
Pratap Krishna, Manoj Kumar
Sam C.S.

Kondraal Paavam - A decent minimalistic crime thriller with an affecting twist

'Kondraal Paavam' marks the Tamil debut of Dayal Padmanaban who is well known in Kannada cinema.  He has adapted a Kannada stage play which was in turn inspired by Rupert Brooke's tragic one act play 'Lithuania' staged in 1915.  Will this minimalistic crime thriller that deals with human greed and morality touch its target audience remains to be seen.

The screenplay is set in Dharmapuri during 1985. Mallika (Varalaxmi) is the  bold and outspoken daughter of impoverished cotton planters Charlie and Iswari Rao .  Mallika who is past her youth is resentful of her family's condition blaming it for her frustrating state.  Meanwhile, a stranger Santosh Pratap passes through the house and requests the family go let him stay for night claiming that he is very tired.   An ugly looking money lender visits and insults the family giving them an ultimatum to pay the interests for their pledged lands by allowing him to exploit Mallika.  Santhosh Prathap then shows them his suitcase full of costly jewelry and cash and offers to help them.  First the family declines but the greedy Mallika hatches a plan to kill the stranger and solve the family problems so that she can get married.   Did the woman succeed in her plan? Did the parents go against her or join her in the evil deed? and most important of all who is the stranger, Is he a wanted thief who might kill the family or will become their victim?  These questions are answered in a riveting climax with an affecting twist.

Varalaxmi Sarathkumar has played negative roles before but this one has more depth and challenges and she is quite up to it.  Her transformation from an ordinary girl lured by the physical appearance of the stranger to deciding to finish him off when he does not play along is very impressive.  Santhosh Prathap is excellent as the mysterious stranger who is clearly not what he seems.  At first he causes uneasiness among the audience suggesting he might be a real bad character and an impending threat to the family.   Only in the climax when who he is is revealed, all his interactions especially, with Easwari Rao make sense. Santhosh Prathap emerges as the most memorable character in the story.  After 'Kaala' Easwari Rao gets a strong character with a real arc from an ordinary mother to a killer herself.  The talented veteran Charle excels as the liqour addicted good for nothing father. His best scene is at the arrack- shop in the end where he learns the shocking truth.  Sendrayan appears as a blind man who could have been used better in the screenplay.

What works best in 'Kondraal Paavam' is the entire second half which is intense, suspenseful and leads to the shocking climax.  The clues that the writer throws randomly such as the wooden horse, Charle saying that he died twenty years back etc pay off well at the end.  The screenplay effectively conveys the various reasons the three characters go from white to grey to dark and makes the unexpected character stand tall in the end.  The dialogue about the same knife used to bring a child to the world, to cutting a chicken for food and later taking another innocent life underlines the theme of the screenplay.

On the downside the first half never takes off and too much time is wasted on repetitive scenes.  The ambience in the period effect is not very convincing and the family's costumes neither reflect the era or their poverty.   The making is old school and after a time fatigue sets in.  

Sam C.S is in his elements accentuating the scenes with his bgm as well as the song on morals placed at crucial plot points.  The rest of the technical work is decent.  Writer-director Dayal Padmanabhan has delivered a decent thriller considering that he shot it in just eleven days.

Verdict : Go for this decent thriller that has an affecting twist at the end

Rating: 3 / 5.0


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