It’s rare to hear good things about a film releasing after a long, painful delay. More so, when even the actor seems to have disowned the film after a point. Trisha Krishnan’s Paramapadham Vilayattu, the trailer of which released in May 2019, is finally here on Disney+ Hotstar. Written and directed by K Thirugnanam, the initial portions of the film are not so loosely based on the constant newsreel during former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha’s battle for her life in a Chennai hospital.
Vela Ramamoorthy plays Chezhiyan, a staunch idealist who refuses to play all forms of dirty politics that makes us wonder how he is even in a leadership position. His successors are tired of waiting in the wings – AL Azhagappan’s Kalingan is one – and want to do something about it. Familiar political rhetoric that we have seen in hundreds of Tamil films plays out and Chezhiyan is in the hospital in critical condition with Dr Gayathri (Trisha), a pulmonologist, assigned to his care.
Daily press briefings are doctored, and the hospital is a pawn operated by the party commanders. Several Tamil films have already used this tired trope in the name of satirical comedy and here we have a film pretending to be serious. Richard Rishi plays David, a comical killer for hire, who abducts Gayathri to get a microchip from her that contains evidence of Chezhiyan’s murder. He barks like a dog – scaring his own mutt in the process – and repeats phrases as if some screws have come loose in his inner mechanics. He can be so irritating that his victim, Gayathri, slaps him after having had enough.
Now Gayathri is shown to be clever in several scenes, but this is probably the scene that elaborates that fact to perfection, for she mirrors our feelings about the film. “Make it stop” keeps occurring inside my own inner mechanics. Stop the expository dialogs. Stop explaining things. Stop that song. Stop asking questions a character already knows the answer for, something the audience had figured out 45 minutes ago.
A lot of unintentional comedy is strewn all over Paramapadham Vilayattu. David cannot see in the dark but apparently wears sunglasses even inside a dense forest. A police officer driving his motorbike on a two-lane highway hasn’t got a helmet on but needs his sunglasses? See, he is not in his uniform, how else could we tell he is a cop. It’s hilarious when he notices something wrong with the vehicle in front of him and removes the glasses in the dead of night to take a better look.
There is a self-congratulatory air throughout this film. Thirugnanam thinks he is made the political thriller of the decade, he flashes his name only in the closing credits as if to say, “Did you watch that magic? I made it!”
I also lost count of the number of games he uses to define politics. There is snakes and ladders in the title, a mention of vishwa vilayattu and then veera vilayattu.
Nandha, who plays Chezhiyan’s son whose video call background would suggest he lives on a floating invisible penthouse on the London Eye, mentions hide and seek. After a point, I expected him to go down to counting games. Maybe he can use a counting game to define each character – tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief.
And Trisha could use a whole career overhaul. It’s lamentable that this is her post-96 career.
The Paramapadham Vilayattu review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Silverscreenindia.com and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.