The enduring interest of a good section of the population in the personal lives of other people gets a nod from filmmaker Senna Hegde in the opening credits sequence of his fifth film Padmini. As the credits roll on a black screen, we get to hear snatches of conversations from a wedding ceremony, of some of the guests sizing up the groom, of some others passing comments on his brother who could be the next target for the marriage market, and of a few judging the weight of the bride’s jewellery and expressing dissatisfaction.
Usually the tongues stop wagging for sometime after a boy or girl is successfully pushed into marriage, but in the case of Rameshan (Kunchacko Boban), a poet and a lecturer at a college, the conversations around him reach fever pitch just after his wedding. With his wife Smrithi (Vincy Aloshious) running away with her boyfriend on the wedding day, he becomes a laughing stock in the village. A good part of Hegde’s movie is about him learning to overcome the taunts, but there are a few more complications for him to face.
Director: Senna Hegde
Cast: Kunchacko Boban, Aparna Balamurali, Madonna Sebastian, Vincy Aloshious
Runtime: 124 minutes
Storyline: Rameshan, a poet and lecturer, becomes the laughing stock of the village after his wife runs away on their wedding day. When he tries to overcome these taunts and get married again, he faces further complications
Hegde gets a shift in scene from the ‘Made in Kanhangad’ landscape of his previous two films — Thinkalazhcha Nishchayam and 1744 White Alto — and sets Padmini in rural Palakkad. Screenwriter Deepu Pradeep, who co-wrote Kunjiramayanam with Basil Joseph, gets it right in the beginning with a compelling theme, but the struggle is evident at times in sustaining the two hour-long narrative.
Some of the humour, especially the scenes involving Rameshan and his brother-in-law (Anand Manmadhan), helps the movie in tiding over the deficiencies in the script. Another parallel track involves advocate Sreedevi (Aparna Balamurali) and her ‘extra-caring’, toxic fiance Jayan (Sajin Cherukayil). Like the ‘Big Kahuna Burgers’ and ‘Red Apple Cigarettes’ in Tarantino films, Padmini has a fictional brand in Jayan’s ‘Rareeram’ mattresses, the advertisement shorts for which spill over into the interval break and after the film.
Yet, that is all for the quirkiness quotient of the film, which otherwise proceeds tamely compared to Hegde’s previous two outings and without any surprises for the most part. The scriptwriter fails in tying together everything convincingly towards the climax, which seemed a bit too forced. Some references to Thinkalazhcha Nischayam, his most popular movie, also appear, as do references to Kunchacko Boban’s old hits. Among the three leading ladies, Aparna gets more scope for performance than the other two and gets as much screen space as Kunchacko.
In the end, Padmini turns out to be a light-hearted movie which just about lives up to its minor ambitions.
Padmini is currently running in theatres