Come, fall in love with this vintage beauty

Come, fall in love with this vintage beauty

Pannaiyarum Padminiyum

Tamil (U)***

Cast: Vijay Sethupathi, Jayaprakash, Thulasi, Aishwaraya Rajesh, Sneha, Balasarvanan, Neelima Rani

Director: S U Arun Kumar

Kollywood cinema throws up surprises every once a while much to the delight of discerning audiences. That two films in tow covet your filmi bill of fare comes as boon. If Goli Soda was one, Arun Kumar’s colourful Pannaiyarum Padminiyum is another.

Touchingly soulful, refreshingly realistic and skillfully scripted eschewing commercial claptrap whipping up welcome winner is what makes Kumar’s Pannaiyarum a pleasurable experience. 

Mind you, Pannaiyarum does suffer from dismal drawbacks, specially it length and needless digressions. Yet, Kumar, with his ensemble endearing troupe, most of all darling of film’s premise, without whose presence the film would not be — Fiat’s Premier Padmini, cynosure of all who come across the car, makes Pannaiyarum such a wonderful watch. A similar joi de vivre was experienced in Ritwik Ghatak’s Ajantrik, which revolved around a weather-beaten, rattling joy of a jalopy.  

At the pivot of Kumar’s crackling plot is Padmini, pride and joy of a village which preens on its pretty possession, though it’s village’s genial landlord it’s de facto master for it has been left in his safekeeping. The vintage vehicle turns landlord’s love of his life given that the village boasts of only single bus service to serve its folks. So Padmini, rightfully turns a major talk of town doubles up as not only landlord’s devoted darling but people’s preferred mode of transport in times of exigencies. Padmini serves multple purpose — ambulance when person is bitten by snake, cortege to relocate dead man, ferrying stranded passengers when local mini breaks down. 

Besides landlord who does not know driving, you have Murugesan, village’s tractor driver, turn Padmini’s designated driver and he its cherished admirer as well. With wife Chellamma putting her foot down that she would not grace it till her landlord himself takes the driver’s seat, he has little choice, but cajole his driver to help him learn the ropes. Even as car’s real owner impending arrival is awaited in dread, landlord’s scheming daughter sets sights to spirit it away. The stage is set for  scintillating and enterprising end-game.  

While Jayaprakash and Thulasi are the toast of the vaudeville, Vijay Setupathi and Balasarvanan complement the colourful cast. Adding pinch of spice to the show are Gokul Benoy’s painterly visuals and Justin Prabhakar’s soothing score. Full of fun and frolic, brimming with bucolic comic and told in pleasing, placid manner, Kumar’s Padmini is your best bet to beat the heat of noon in the AC confines of a theatre. Test drive this Padmini. You are sure to head home cheery and chirpy singing peans about Pannaiyarum Padminiyum.

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