Sunday 24 September 2023

Pada [2022]

 Pada is that enthralling “political thriller based on true events” where all the three components of the sub-genre worked brilliantly both independently and in relation to each other. Its politics – that of the ceaseless systemic oppression of tribal communities by the establishment – is profoundly persuasive, powerful, dissenting and progressive and, in an eloquent demonstration of authenticity, portrayed neither through the gaze of the privileged class nor that of the upper-caste; as a thriller it’s moody, gripping and dazzlingly crafted; and the incident was chronicled with the here-and-now precision and controlled urgency of narrative reportage. In 1996, four seemingly regular men, in an astonishing display of political consciousness, fearless bravado and radical revolutionary spirit, held the then Collector of the city of Palakkad hostage for several hours in solidarity with the harrowing plight of Adivasis in general, and, in particular, to have a recently passed legislative bill – that further diluted the miniscule land rights of this immensely marginalized indigenous community – revoked. They identified themselves as belonging to “Ayyankali Pada” or Ayyankali’s Army, in honour of the iconoclastic Dalit social reformer, and nearly achieved the impossible – through their fiery act of rebellion and resistance – of compelling the state to pay heed. Vinayakan and Kunchacko Boban were riveting as two of the faction members, with commendable turns also from Joju George and Dileesh Pothan (the terrific Joji’s director) as the two balance members, Prakash Raj as the level-headed Chief Secretary, Arjun Radhakrishnan as the sensible Collector and T.G. Ravi as a socialist-minded mediator, amidst a large cast that was mobilized to exhibit the state of frenzy. The pulsating background score and brooding visuals deftly complemented the film’s bleak premise and fatalist undercurrents.

Director: Kamal K.M.

Genre: Thriller/Political Thriller/Docufiction

Language: Malayalam

Country: Kerala

No comments: