Puzhu Movie Review
Puzhu is that film in which the performance of its leading actor is not just the USP of the film but is almost the film in itself. Mammootty plays Kuttan or that is how he is referred to by few characters in the film. We never get to know his real name and it doesn’t seem to matter. The ‘Puzhu’ in the title could either refer to him or it could refer to the way he sees certain people around him. If you are looking for a plot or a story, Puzhu isn’t that kind of a film. The one liner of the film might be a little close to Vettrimaran’s segment in Paava Kathaigal but that isn’t the crux of Puzhu. It takes us closer to a repulsive character and leaves us in his vicinity for close to 2 hours. It leaves us squirming in our seats but we remain glued to and try to understand what is actually going through the mind of this man.
Mammootty is unbelievably good. He plays someone with whom you wouldn’t want to have any ties with. Puzhu works because we remain interested with this character but at no point do we empathize with him. The film never tries to judge the character and leaves it to us. The fascinating aspect of Puzhu is how Mammootty plays someone who is evil but it also seems that he always feels that he is doing the right thing. The scenes between him and his son are the best in the film. We shudder in fear thinking about what the kid is going through. And Mammootty plays someone who actually loves his son and believes he is doing all the right things for him. That is why you are in awe of this performance. The actor brings out so many facets of the character even when he is still on screen. Watch how he reacts when he realizes he is wrong but cannot accept it. He comes across as stoic but we can feel his embarrassment (The scene with the school Principal is one instance). In another instance, watch how his face lights up when his son lives up to his expectation (the chess coin scene). And for all his moral high ground about being disciplined (the way he sees it) he is actually a corrupt person. We learn about his dirty deeds during his service as a policeman much later.
As a film, Puzhu leaves you with mixed feelings. The climax in particular feels rushed and forced. The other characters have very little to do. But the film’s intentions seem to be different. Unlike films that take on casteism head on and films that have a subtle dig at casteism, Puzhu showcases what it is to be around a toxic and casteist person. In that way it succeeds because you are in a constant state of discomfort and fear with Kuttan around.
Streaming on SonyLiv