“PULIMADA”: A CINEMATIC STRUGGLE OF INNER TURMOIL
In this apparently thrilling narrative, the film tantalizes with a promise that intermittently lurks in the shadows, struggling to manifest itself fully. “Pulimada” ostensibly endeavors to unfold this potential by delving into the intricate inner conflict of its protagonist. The OTT release Malayalam film beckons viewers to traverse diverse interpretations of the events unfolding in the life of Vincent Scaria, a character brought to life by the commendable performance of Joju George. The protagonist’s idiosyncratic demeanor stands as the linchpin in the hands of director AK Saajan, who, besides helming the film, also undertakes the role of its editor. However, the lofty creative aspirations grapple with impediments in their sojourn through the realm of imagination, leading to a gradual erosion of impact after an initial glimpse of a promising screenplay.
Joju George undeniably commands the spotlight in the movie, shedding light on the ostensibly idyllic life of the hero, a police officer. Against the picturesque backdrop of Wayanad, Vincent leads a solitary existence in his abode nestled amidst the hills and forest. His official duties near a monumental statue of a fairy woman in a park serve as a catalyst for memories of his enigmatic mother, whose eccentricities unfolded in her twilight years. AK Saajan adeptly intertwines the untamed beauty of the statue with Vincent’s haunting emotions about his mother, skillfully capturing the profound loneliness that envelops the protagonist, both in childhood and adulthood. The film initiates with the preparations for Vincent’s 40th birthday celebration and impending wedding, bringing together relatives for a lively prenuptial gathering. However, the wedding is abruptly canceled the next morning, and Vincent’s demeanor takes a peculiar turn. As his character becomes increasingly enigmatic, the film loses momentum, with most of his previous marriage proposals having met various unfortunate fates.
Vincent’s encounter with Mahishmathi Emily Jayaram (Aishwarya Rajesh) marks a pivotal moment, setting the stage for the central conflict of “Pulimada.” Despite Vincent’s eagerness to marry, his character’s latent male chauvinism surfaces when he insists that his fiancée, Jessy (Farah Shibila), give up her job post-marriage. A symbolic scene featuring a prowling tiger in the area quietly retreating upon encountering Vincent in the forest underscores the film’s attempt to draw parallels between the secluded lives of a man and a wild beast. As Vincent embarks on a rampage following the canceled marriage, the tiger, too, roams the grasslands near the village, subtly mirroring the protagonist’s descent into chaos.
While Joju George’s performance shines, guiding the film with finesse and injecting it with intrigue, “Pulimada,” despite its captivating cinematography by Venu and a moderately average background score by Anil Johnson, falls short in sustaining the story’s momentum. The transient excitement it offers is, to a large extent, salvaged by the compelling portrayal of the protagonist, compensating for the film’s fleeting impact. In essence, “Pulimada” emerges as a cinematic endeavor grappling with its own conflicts, both internal and external, leaving viewers oscillating between moments of promise and disappointment. – WILLIAMSJI MAVELI.