Critic’s Rating : 3.0 / 5
Panni Kutty Movie Review : A gentle rural comedy that is likeable but not compelling enough
Panni Kutty Movie Review: The protagonist of Panni Kutty, Uthravathi (Karunakaran), is the kind of guy for whom life is nothing but unending problems. His sister Nilavathi (Shathiga) has a troubled marriage. His father Periya Karuppu (TP Gajendran) is an alcoholic. And his mother doesn’t even care when he tries to commit suicide. He is so unlucky even in his attempts to end his life.
So, when he decides to steal a two-wheeler on the advice of a seer (Dindigul Leoni), to whom his friend Brunei (Ramar) takes him to, we understand that as an act of desperation from a man who is clutching at straws. And when his luck turns around, he is delighted. But then, before long, there’s an accident and now, the seer wants him to find the piglet that had caused it and run over him again! But what Uthra doesn’t realise is that the piglet is under the protection of Thittani (Yogi Babu), who has to ensure the animal’s safety, so that he can get married.
In total contrast to his debut film, the excellent thriller Kirumi, with Panni Kutty, director Anucharan goes for a breezy rural comedy drama for his sophomore effort. The film is jolly good fun, revelling in situational humour that keeps it entertaining till the very end. Right from the opening scene, when we see Uthra going to commit suicide (with a terrific use of thr TMS song Aararivil Ore Arivu Outtu), the director peppers the film with humour, the quirky kind that doesn’t make you squeal with laughter, but brings a gentle smile on your face while watching it. The casting feels right, and the actors liven up the scenes with their camaraderie ensuring that there is no dull moment.
But this low-key approach is also what stops from the film from making it a compelling watch. Anucharan seems to be going for a slice-of-life comedy that captures the simple moments in life with his writing, but what it does is lessens the seriousness of the stakes that the protagonist faces. So, we are never fully involved in his quest. Beyond the principal characters, the supporting ones are rather functional, so after a point, we get the feeling of watching a premise that would have worked better as a short film. More importantly, the climax isn’t impactful enough. One of the reasons why Kirumi worked so well was because of its climax, which packed a punch in a quiet way. Here, neither do we get a grandstanding message nor a moving moment of realisation. Instead, we have a matter-of-fact resolution that feels too simplistic and convenient, and leaves us feeling mildly underwhelmed.