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Lots of aspiring filmmakers are putting in lots of money and time into living their dream of making films, in the Malayalam film industry. "Pa Va" is one such attempt in the comedy-drama genre, which has an interesting concept at its base, but is let down by the dull execution.
Devassy Pappan (Murali Gopy) and Varkey (Anoop Menon) are two elderly gents who have been together as thick friends for decades. Both belonging to the Christianity religion, they are now patriarchs of their respective large joint families. While Devassy has a fear of death, it is Varkey who is gifted a surprise death by his God. Unable to fully grieve the loss of his friend, Devassy starts hallucinating and soon finds himself engaging in banter with Varkey long after the latter was buried at his home ground. Things start getting interesting when Varkey informs Devassy that he met their past mutual flame, Marykutty (Prayaga Martin), at the gates of heaven, and who may have recorded about her inclination of love to either of the men sometime before her mysterious death many years ago. A gullible Devassy believes him and sets out on a literal journey to track Marykutty's final days, while simultaneously trying to cajole the local priest and other community members to let him be buried in Varkey's home ground after his death so that he can meet his friend in heaven and expedite the process of making it up with Marykutty who may have selected him over the history-loving Varkey.
Like I said, there's enough material to make a viewer ponder about death and after-death. But, the writers and the two central characters ruin their chance by marketing the film as something about Christian customs and its relative rites when it comes to burial, et al. Supporting characters seem to be to jubilant to enact their unarguably quirky characters, but where does the film's story go? Nowhere, after it reaches an unsatisfying crescendo at about 40 minutes of runtime.
While Gopy's air as an oldie is partially convincing, Menon botches it up with his actions, often trying to outsmart himself in character. To me, personally, it is Menon who is to be blamed for wrecking the film's continuity as he periodically barges in and puts up his charades to test the viewer's patience. The cheerful family setup or the cameo by Renji Panicker also do not help the film to stay afloat as it spirals down and drowns in its own vomit.
Finally, just because I overheard this, it could be a cool afternoon watch for a Christian family who may be able to better relate with some of the film's lesser-important sequences.
BOTTOM LINE: Sooraj Tom's "Pa Va" could have been an entertaining film owing to its fresh concept, but all it offers is a piece of stale cake with a red cherry on the top. Read the Wikipedia entry, and skip for life.
Can be watched with a typical Indian family? YES
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