Kondraal Paavam – A moral story in the form of a crisp thriller!
Director Dayal Padmanabhan begins Kondraal Paavam with a detailed note on the background of the plot. The film is based on the one act play 'Lithuania', by Rupert Brooke, published in 1915. This does prepare us in a way for things to come, in particular the climax. I say this because Kondraal Paavam does feel like a one act play. The film for the most part revolves around 4 characters and happens within a day inside a house. After the film you might even think if this really needed 109 minutes and if the core is more suited for a short film. But to Dayal Padmanabhan’s credit, the film remains sufficiently engaging and keeps us hooked for the entire runtime. The director himself has made the same story in Kannada and Telugu and is now presenting it in Tamil.
Kondraal Paavam is set in a remote village in the year 1981 and the premise involves a rich stranger (Santhosh Prathap) who takes shelter in a poor household of three members (Charle, Easwari Rao and Varalaxmi Sarathkumar). Who is he? Is he going to harm the family? Is the family going to rob him? This and more questions are answered in a focused narrative, which as I already said, works almost like a one act play with no breather. The setting almost feels surreal, strange, weird or whatever. The actors are very good. They keep you guessing about their motives, and they play a huge part in piquing your interest. They balance the mix between being believable as real characters and also having an aura of mystery around them nicely.
Whether the film works as a whole for you depends on your sensibilities. It feels like one of those moral stories that you listen as a kid. But even if it doesn’t work for you as a cinema, it is one of those films that would keep you engaged.
A moral story presented in the form of a thriller, Kondraal Paavam is crisp and airtight with neat performances.