|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Karutha Pakshikal: Good film
Paresh C Palicha | November 20, 2006 18:02 IST
It is natural for people to leave their homeland in search of a better life and a bright future for their children. In Karutha Pakshikal, director Kamal tackles the subject of a family living on the fringes of an alien society which does not recognise their existence but milk them for its own comfort.
Karutha Pakshikal is the story of a Tamilian immigrant Murugan (Mammootty), who makes a living out of ironing clothes of city-dwellers in Kerala. He is a widower living in a slum with his three children, one of whom is blind and thereby his pet.
The film goes on to show the daily life of Murugan, the odds he faces in his day-to-day life because of his identityless existence. First, he cannot afford cornea transplant for his daughter as recommended by the doctor in a free eye camp. Next, when he loses his handcart in a political riot in the city because his name is not in the electoral list. The general apathy towards such people is again highlighted in the General Hospital where he is bleeding after a stabbing incident.
These are some of the events that are in a way, punctuations in the story as it happens. As the story moves forward, we are shown that the blind girl Malli (Baby Malavika) befriends a rich lady Suvarna (Meena) while accompanying her father on his work. Suvarna, who is terminally ill, develops a special bond with Malli and decides to donate her eyes to Malli after her imminent death.
Karutha Pakshikal showcases the life in slums with these characters but it moves between starkness and sentimentalism that seems to manipulate the audience in a way. But where the film wins us over is the characterisation of the protagonist Murugan, Kamal puts so much life into this man that we can overlook any other shortcoming there may be.
Mammootty devours the opportunity to perform with relish. He embodies Murugan in such a way that he takes us with him through the emotions that he has to experience. He shows a kind of vulnerability to accept everything life offers without having the ability to react; a sort of compromise with fate. What is missing in his character is rage or anguish. Perhaps he cannot afford to have these emotions. This makes Murugan similar to Madhavan, the character Mammootty portrayed in Blessy's Kazcha.
Kamal also scores with the characters of children; they are the mirror for Murugan's conscience. This becomes evident when Suvarna offers to donate her eyes to the little girl after her death, but Malli does not wish Suvarna to die because she has been good to her. But Malli's elder brother Azhakappan (Master Thejus) wishes that she should die soon so that his little sister's sight is restored at the earliest.
The characterisation of two ladies in the story could have been better. Meena as Suvarna is a porcelain beauty; we don't get to catch the emotional depth of a terminally ill person who has to deal with a chauvinistic husband who lacks the understanding to appreciate her wife's condition. But this treatment of Suvarna's character may be intentional also, as we are watching her through Murugan's point of view. Another female character Poomkodi, the beggar girl portrayed by Pamdapriya, who has soft-corner for Murugan's kids, just provides some lighter moments to the proceedings.
Kamal should definitely be credited for bringing Mammootty into full form.
Overall, Karutha Pakshikal is a good viewing experience.
Want to see this movie? Check out Rediff Movie Tickets!