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Kondraal Paavam Movie Review

Desire and self-centeredness are two entities that have immense significance in human life. Director Dayal Padmanabhan – in his film Kondraal Paavam – aims to explore the repercussions when one is excessively driven by these factors. The film is about a stranger who alters the course of an impoverished family that provided him with temporary shelter. Actress Varalaxmi Sarathkumar who was last seen in the crime thriller Maruthi Nagar Police Station is back on screens with another crime thriller drama Kondraal Paavam. Actor Santhosh Prathap has portrayed a pivotal role in the film. Writer Mohan Habbu has written the story. So, how has the crime thriller drama Kondraal Paavam come out? Is it solid enough to bring actress Varalaxmi Sarathkumar back to the winning zone, and help rejuvenate the bankable lead heroine image of the actress? To know that let us get in to the movie review. 

Kondraal Paavam Movie Poster

Kondraal Paavam Movie Poster

Kondraal Paavam is set in a remote village in the 80’s where Mallika (Varalaxmi Sarathkumar), a spinster lives with her parents, (Charle and Easwari Rao) in a modest home. The family is struck in the hands of poverty for years, and are forced to tolerate the abuse of their landlords. A frustrated Mallika, who desires to free herself from the clutches of poverty and lead a materialistic life, gets desperate with time as she struggles to find ways to live out her desires. One fine day, a man named Arjunan (Santhosh Prathap) comes to their home seeking lodging for a night. After initial reluctance, and brief pondering, the family accepts to take Arjunan as their guest. 

A money lender comes to Mallika’s home and embarrasses them in front of their guest giving them an ultimatum to pay back the money they owe him. Arjunan takes pity and offers to help. In a state of suspicion the family declines his proposal. Arjunan shows them a bag full of money and gold jewels. Mallika’s desperation pushes her to concoct a plan to murder her guest, and put an end to her family’s misery. Will she succeed in her plot, will the parents oppose her sly scheme or get on board with her, who is this strange stranger, and does he have any motives of his own for entering their house, is what makes the rest of the story. 

Kondraal Paavam starts off as a slow burner taking its own time to draw us into its world. It introduces people of its universe, and presents sufficient details for us to understand its primary characters well. This connection of us with the characters on screens is what keeps us invested in the film till the very end. To director Dayal Padmanabhan’s credit, he cleverly uses seesawing moral turpitude and mystery knots to keep the wafer-thin plot engaging. Whenever we feel a sluggishness in the proceedings, we have a catalyst of sorts to boost the pace. For instance, the brief period after the family settles to host Arjunan begins to turn dry, suddenly we have a landlord in the picture, Arjunan offers to help, and a game of contrary emotions ensues. 

Even his play with human emotions has worked out favorably. There is a scene where Mallika desires for Arjunan’s wealth, she realizes it, feels guilty, in an attempt to escape it she tries to play out a scenario of Arjunan being a thief, and makes an effort to sell it to her mother. Similarly, a portion where Mallika makes a move on Arjunan, but blames him after he rebukes her. On the downside, everything from little detail to a character’s emotional swing is spoon fed as dialogues. This acts as a dampener as it kills the space for us as an audience. Also, the plot of Kondraal Paavam in a lot of ways feels like a script that would be much suitable for a short film. Trimming off frills, and sequences that overdo dialogues to milk emotions of audience from the core plot would have really turned the film into a short. 

From time to time, actress Varalaxmi Sarathkumar takes us by surprise with her choice of roles. Mallika is one such role. The actress beautifully shoulders her character. She looks apt in the girl next door part when she is introduced to us. As things get cagey, she carries the grey shades in her character well displaying her acting prowess. Actor Santhosh Prathap once again demonstrates what a topnotch performer he is. Actress Easwari Rao makes her presence felt. Actor Charle brings forth his experience to elevate his otherwise dully written part. He does a solid in the climax block. Late actor Manobala does complete justice to his part. Actor Jaya Kumar is adequate. Actor Sendrayan makes an impact. Actor Meesai Rajendran serves the purpose for which he was brought on board. Actors Subramaniam Siva, Imran, TSR Srinivasan, Tiger Thangadurai, and Kavitha Bharathi, have all chipped in and have played their part well. The rest of the cast has delivered what was asked of them. 

On the technical front, music director Sam C S’s music adds little value to the drama. His songs are not so interesting. He shines with his background score in the first half where his music smoothly blends with the flow. Especially in tense portions. But when the movie reaches the focal stage and turns melodramatic his scores are just jarring and deafening. Cinematographer Chezhiyan has done a fine job covering the drama. He has mounted his cameras in the best angles possible. Editor Preethi Mohan Babu has clipped and clubbed the clips to supplement the work of her colleague well. 

On the whole, storyteller Dayal Padmanabhan’s Kondraal Paavam is a simple yet engaging thriller drama that is worth a watch.

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