Paapam Cheyyathavar Kalleriyatte portrays within a short time-frame the events that revolve around an engagement ceremony in a conservative Christian family.
Paapam Cheyyathavar Kalleriyatte movie cast: Vinay Forrt, Tini Tom, Srinda, Santhy Balachandran, Arun Kurian
Paapam Cheyyathavar Kalleriyatte movie director: Shambhu Purushothaman
Paapam Cheyyathavar Kalleriyatte movie rating: 2.5 stars
Filmmaker Shambhu Purushothaman made his presence felt in Malayalam cinema through his 2013 directorial debut Vedivazhipadu, a sex comedy that discussed sexual repression, misogyny, adultery, and gender politics. Six years on, he is back with Paapam Cheyyathavar Kalleriyatte, a social satire on what constitutes morality and sin. As shown in the intriguing trailer and innovative posters, the movie pokes fun at the pseudo-morality and pretentiousness of Malayalees. Though it starts in a hilarious manner, the film becomes overly dramatic and exaggerated in its attempt to criticize the values and morals of traditional society.
Paapam Cheyyathavar Kalleriyatte begins with discussions between two seemingly rich and affluent Christian families. The conversations in the background distinctly show an arranged marriage being fixed and moves on to the topic of dowry. Rohan, who is said to have secured a prospective career at Google in the US, is all set to get married to Linda. Their families have arranged the alliance and Linda’s parents have offered Rs 10 crore as dowry. The groom’s family forbids Rohan from communicating with Linda before marriage, and the couple hardly meet. Rohan’s brother Roy is in a financial crisis and sees the marriage as the solution. But on the day of the betrothal, things take a turn for the worse when both families discover certain secrets.
While Shambhu’s first film Vedivazhipadu raised some eyebrows with its bawdy humour and subject, Paapam Cheyyathavar Kalleriyatte portrays within a short time-frame the events that revolve around an engagement ceremony in a conservative Christian family. It critiques a cross-section of society and throws light upon issues like adultery, infidelity, entangled past relationships, dowry culture, marrying for money, gossipping and showing off. It also takes potshots at the unnecessary and expensive new generation pre-wedding ‘Save the Date’ photoshoots that involves the bride and bridegroom posing for contrived happy moments. The movie is successful in painting a real picture of the fake, meaningless and inconsequential grandeur surrounding the nuptials.
The title of the movie is an allusion to an utterance of Jesus in John 8:7, ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.’ When Jesus was preaching at the Mount of Olives, a group of scribes and Pharisees bring in a woman, accusing her of committing adultery, claiming she was caught in the act. To their question on what punishment should be awarded for her violation, Jesus states that the one who is without sin can cast the first stone.
Paapam Cheyyathavar Kalleriyatte aims at conveying the idea of people having a tendency to easily judge others. Prejudice can often lead to misjudgments regarding anything and everything. The movie solves this crisis by asking people to forgive each other as ‘nobody is perfect’. Everyone has their own quirks and eccentricities.
The movie effectively dissects human behaviour through the examination of marriage, relationships, and the strict confines of traditions and customs. Money plays a huge role in this mixture as it serves as a vehicle for both good and bad deeds. The characters reach the philosophical conclusion that peace of mind is all one requires to find meaning in life. The subplots in this film pack a variety of stereotypical characters. It attacks the hypocrisies and flamboyant nature of the Christian community through the caricature it offers. The characters have disparate traits, manners, and temperament, and at the same time, their own follies and foibles. Their diversity creates disharmony which leads to problems spinning out of hand. It gets so problematic that everyone is morally reprehensible for their actions.
Paapam Cheyyathavar Kalleriyatte employs the garb of humour to serve this hot and indigestible subject. But some elements of humour become cliched like most of the hard-hitting satirical Malayalam movies do. But when Louis Armstrong sings ‘What a Wonderful World’ after the depiction of a chaotic environment in which both families are fighting, it evokes both humour and pathos.
The movie features Vinay Forrt, Tini Tom, Srinda Ashab, Santhy Balachandran, Arun Kurian in the lead. Other significant roles are essayed by Madhupal, Alencier Ley Lopez, Anil Nedumangad, Anumol, Sunil Sukhada, and Ambika Mohan. Even though the characters of Vinay Forrt, Tini Tom, and Santhy Balachandran get more screen time, those doing small roles have delivered impressive performances.
Paapam Cheyyathavar Kalleriyatte attempts to portray the problems that might arise when human love and lust are controlled by measures of family esteem and morality. It also dwells on the nature of society in finding suitable life partners without taking into consideration family background and monetary benefits. Though the film attempts to put forth the progressive notion of free love, without the ties of relationships and morality, it is doubtful how far it will find a resonance in real society.