Imagine this. Two groups of men are fighting over a film’s MacGuffin, and during the tussle, the object is thrown to the ground. Before the fight ends, a bulldozer runs over the object, wrecking it and rendering it useless. As mere lines, they sound intriguing; right from a sense of karma to evoking some thrills, the cascading effect that the event has is quite interesting. But, as a scene in C Aravind Raj’s latest outing Paramporul, not only does it feel contrived and convenient, but a random bulldozer appearing out of thin air (on a road where no construction work is happening and not even a car passes through) makes it unintentionally hilarious. Being lost in translation seems to be the biggest mishap for this Amitash Pradhan and Sarath Kumar starrer which has precious few moments going for it.
Director: C Aravind Raj
Cast: Amitash Pradhan, Sarath Kumar, Kashmira Pardeshi, Balaji Sakthivel, T Siva
Storyline: A troubled young man and a seasoned cop face the repercussions after they give idol smuggling a shot
Runtime: 147 minutes
What works well in favour of Paramporul is its world-building. Without wasting a jiffy, we’re thrown into the world of idol smuggling, which, according to the film, is a result of a well-connected network that runs from the deepest of villages in Tamil Nadu to the USA. We’re also introduced to Aadhi (Amitash Pradhan) who wants to make a quick buck out in that world to save his ailing sister and ends up becoming an unlikely duo alongside Maithreyan (Sarath Kumar), a corrupt cop who wants to make money for his daughter who’s under the care of his estranged wife.
But it’s in the execution of the plot where Paramporul falters. Even if we bypass the leads’ reasons for their financial needs — which are actually tropes as old as the hills — for a plot that’s wafer-thin, the film feels excruciatingly long. It’s difficult to not compare this film with Sarath’s recent outing, the highly-successfulPor Thozhil which was also a thriller featuring him as a cop. Unlike that film which stuck to the codes of its genre, Paramporul is all over the place. There’s a romance portion that feels futile, we feel no remorse for Maithreyan’s personal life, and there are songs that could have been completely done away with.
Unlike Iraivi, Lingaa, Kurangu Bommai or even the recent Jailer — where idol smuggling is just a minor trope in the grand scheme of things — it’s the central idea of Paramporul. Yet, we get to know very little about the concept. Terms like Buddha’s avatars, Srivijayam, the Cholas and Kadaram Kondan are mentioned, but they fail to provide any clear info. For once, expositions don’t feel expository enough! Aadhi’s ringtone is the Buddhi Ulla Manitharellam song from Annai, andAadhi predominantly wears checkered shirts while Maithreyan sticks to solid shades; the film does try getting nifty but the middling story doesn’t offer the space.
Meawhile, Aadhi is probably the only grounded primary character as Sarath’s Maithreyan feels anything but organic. The character feels like an extension of what he played in the recently-released yet easily forgettable Custody. For someone who grew up with a good dose of his subtle performance in films like Ayya and Suriyan — or even the exaggerated ones in Simmarasi and Thenkasi Pattanam — Paramporul’s Maithreyan is an imprudently-written character that even the veteran can’t salvage. The film also doesn’t offer much to its only prominent female character played by Kashmira Pardeshi, but what comes as a pleasant surprise is the one played by Balaji Sakthivel, who is accumulating quite a stellar filmography as an actor these days.
The scene involving the Vaanam Kottattum trio — Amitash, Sarath and Balaji — stands apart along with a neat climax that almost saves the film. But by then, the damage is already made and the clever twist in the end feels too good for a film that offers shockingly too less. Paramporul, on the whole, is a product of mediocre execution that runs like a road roller over its fragile yet intriguing plot.
Paramporul is currently running in theatres