Jayasurya (Angoor Ravuthar), Padmapriya (Rahel), Reenu Mathews (Annamma), Lena
(Kazhali), Chemban Vinod Jose (Dimitri), Jinu Joseph (Ivan), TG Ravi (Comrade),
Sreejith Ravi (the young Comrade), Amith Chackalakal (Nizam Ravuthar), Ahebin
Benson, Saritha Kuku, Nebish Benson, Sal Yusuf (Harrison), Rita Mathen
(Harrison’s British wife), Aashiq Abu (Antony), Amala Paul (Guest Appearance)
Pusthakam, a masterpiece
Malayalam movie by Amal Neerad with great star cast and their stellar
performances. It is a very intense movie, handled with great maturity. The
narration is by Comrade (TG Ravi) in the year 1976 about the events which
spanned across a few decades in the pre-independence period, which he had
witnessed during his younger days (Sreejith Ravi). Slavery, rivalry, hatred,
vengeance, shrewdness, murders, love, comradeship etc. all are projected so
of the movie is with a few people standing still, looking up. On being asked,
the response is that they are making a movie. But the narrator says, why to
look up for making a movie, just to look at life to get a story for the movie
and that is how, Comrade starts narrating the intriguing story of Iyob, a slave
turned master, and his three sons. A quote from Bible is worth mention here
which sets the whole preamble of the movie: “It is not only the old who are
wise, not only the aged who understand what is right. (Job 32: )”.
Set in the backdrop of the picturesque Munnar, Harrison (Sal Yusuf, a British
Planter) makes inroads to Munnar with his wife (Rita Mathen). As used to be the
practice, he forces the poor people to work for him. That is where, Harrison meets
a young slave who was beaten up by Harrisson’s supervisor Thacho.
Harrison encourages the young slave to give it back. Slowly Harrison earns the
trust of that young slave and rechristens him as Iyob (Lal) and makes him
one of the most obeying servant. Harrison after a few years gets Iyob married
off to Annamma (Reeni Mathews). Iyob and Annamma becomes parents to three kids
[who grow up to be Dimitri (Chemban Vinod Jose), Ivan (Jinu Joseph) and Aloshi
(Faahad Faasil)]. Rita, being fed up of life at Munnar, leaves Harrison and
goes back to London. During that period, Kazhali (Lena), a nomadic, comes to
the Munnar from Nilgiris and the distraught Harrisson is enamoured by this
dusky beauty. Harrison makes Kazhali her mistress. When Harrisson dies of sudden
cardiac arrest at Kochi, pregnant Kazhali is ousted by Iyob, and Iyob
transforms himself into a master from a slave, as atrocious as Britishers.
Though Kazhali cursed Iyob and his children while thrown out of the house, she
continued her friendship with Annamma. Her daughter Martha and Aloshi also
developed a great bond.
to Iyob comes in the form of Annamma’s death. Aloshy flees to Kochi without
letting anybody know when he witnessed a cruel act by his two elder brothers.
Aloshy later on joins British Royale Navy and later after many years when he
comes back to village to take Martha along with him, he gets astonished to find
that his brothers and father have not mended their ways, rather have become
more cruel. Murky currents of hatred have only grown stronger. Dimitri, a
womanizer and is an abusive husband to Rahel (Padmapriya). Ivan is brutal.
Martha and Kazhali were outcasts, since the villagers believed that they
practiced black magic.
smiles, the only moment we see him smiling is during song sequence with Martha
or at the mention of Martha. His ideologies are essentially based on humanistic
values, and he never thinks twice before disowning his father and brothers for
what he believes to be right. Aloshy believes that in a land ruled by anarchy,
attack is the best defence.
(Jayasurya), a timber merchant, enters into the scene, who doesn’t get the
permission from Iyob to get the timber from Munnar. This rivalry costs Iyob a
Communist Leader and member of the first State Legislative Assembly Rosamma
Punnose and her comrades are also shown in the movie who play pivotal roles.
History says that it was Ms. Punnose who laid a firm foundation for the
plantation workers’ trade union movement.
story unfold thereafter? How does Aloshi move further? How does he handle his
ruthless brothers? Is he able to take Martha along? What happens to Iyob and
his other two sons? Is Angoor able to fulfill his intentions? Does Rahel play
just as a victim to her abusive and impotent husband or her role has other
shades as well? The movie has the right mix of history and fiction
to reveal the story.
performances from Fahaad, Lal, Jayasurya, Chemban Vinod Jose, Jinu
Jospeh. Vinayakan as Chemban (Aloshi’s friend) has also given a superb
performance. Rather the entire cast has given outstanding performances.
dialogues are exchanged between the characters. So thoughtfully written and
directed. Various emotions anguish, hatred, fear, vengeance etc. are all
projected through non-verbal expressions, worth mentioning. Even the love angle
between Aloshi and Martha is played in such a subtle manner. The item number by
Amala Paul is well shot but seemed out of place.
finishes with a beautiful dialogue: People like Aloshy who have travelled all
around the world and tolerant in nature will change the world one day.
Pusthakam is a masterpiece with perfect amalgamation of Direction, Story,
Screenplay, Star Cast, Performances and Visuals.