Puzhu Movie Review: Mammootty plays a dangerously egoistic character in a movie that exposes faultlines of caste

Puzhu has been in the news ever since it was revealed that Mammootty will be playing a negative character in the movie. Directed by debutant Ratheena and  based on a story by Harshad, the film has certain similarities to Oor Iravu, the final segment of the Tamil anthology Paavai Kaadhagal.

If the aim of Puzhu was to bring out new facets of Mammootty as an actor, it clearly wins in that regard. He plays Kuttan who hails from a Brahmin family and views the world only through his entitled and egoistic lens. The conflict point of the movie is built around Parvathy’s character who plays the role of Kuttan’s sister Achyol. A progressive woman, she lives with a theatre activist Kuttapan who comes from a different caste.

The movie follows Kuttan’s life with his son Achu and it’s clear that the youngster is suffocating under his father. Kuttan never intimidates his son, but exerts his authority over him in numerous subtle ways, and that’s where Mammootty excels as he underplays the character. From the start of the movie itself, Kuttan is shown as someone who is mostly grumpy and is carrying the weight of his ego and some past demons. He is sometimes shown anxious and in panic, reason behind which is slowly revealed in the film. Most of the movie follows Kuttan’s mental conflict between his identity rooted in caste and anxiety coming from his past deeds. However, while establishing Kuttan, there is alot of emphasis on strange character traits that feel extraneous.

Mammootty aligns with the character, and manages to give nuance and shades of grey to it with his body language, movements and sound modulation. His performance is at par with his character in Munnariyip. Parvathy also does justice to her role. Appunni Sasi as Kuttappan is a memorable character in the movie.


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