Parava (2017) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen


‘Parava’ is a charming coming-of-age tale with a liberal dose of backtales thrown in.  It does gallantly buck time-honoured storytelling strategies with innovative modes of its own, and yet leaves you with that faint regret that despite all its artistry and ambition, it’s not that absolute, flawless piece of cinema that would have left you in a daze.


Soubin Shahir’s directorial debut ‘Parava’ looks all set to soar up beyond the clouds that seem far away, but runs into some sporadic turbulence that robs it of the bliss of a smooth flight. Soubin Shahir’s directorial debut is a film that certainly packs a punch, but one which strikes you as a film that must probably have pushed its boundaries a bit harder.

Irshad and Haseeb (Amal Shah and Govind Pai), are two young boys, who are devastated at the thought that they will not remain classmates anymore, as the school reopens after the summer vacations, the reason being that while Haseeb has been promoted to the tenth grade, Irshad hasn’t. There are several other things in life that keep the boys occupied though, and amidst a multitude of happenings all around, they brace themselves up for the pigeon race that is just around the corner.

It is a wild and memorable ride that the boys take us on; one that is punctured by spurts of elation and excitement, and the smarting gashes left behind by dashed hopes and dreams. While Irshad discovers love and the torment that accompanies it, Haseeb stays put with him throughout, and together the boys laugh and sob on their way to discovering the miracle called life.

Soubin Shahir offers you too much to hold on to, that bits and pieces of it even start slipping away through your fingers. Determined that if he’s going to judder a fist at the skies, he might as well do it in élan, Soubin along with co-writer Muneer Ali,  shakes out of the sack a whole lot of characters, some of whom majorly contribute in rendering this whole cinematic experience a personal one, and some others who get squashed under a deluge of excessiveness.

Beneath the untried premise of pigeon races, it remains that there lies a story of vengeance and petty rivalry that has for long been the matter for many films. There are also the infrequent moments when Soubin even gives in to the irresistibly enticing desire to please, and the writing then slips a few further rungs down, like when you watch one of the seniors making a highly dramatised entry in the climax, which in itself appears a bit too stretched out and inflated, compared to the rest of it.

‘Parava’ owes all its exclamation points to the two very young lead actors – Amal Shah and Govind Pai – who with the sheer dynamism in their feats pull the rug right from under your feet. But the real star in ‘Parava’ for me would be Shane Nigam, and this brooding, moody young man seems to be getting better with each film. Shane is simply brilliant in ‘Parava’, and there are at least a couple of scenes in it, where he manages to totally unsettle you with a performance that almost borders on the insane.

Dulquer Salman, as anticipated, does a decent job  in an extended cameo, and the supporting cast – with names as Arjun Ashokan, Zinil Zainudheen, Siddique, Harisree Ashokan, Indrans, Jacob Gregory, Srinda, Shine Tom Chacko, Sreenath Bhasi, Aashiq Abu and Soubin himself featuring among others – is no less efficient. Rex Vijayan’s musical score is top notch.

‘Parava’ also features instances of exemplary cinematography by Littil Swayamp, where the prowling camera darts after the boys as they race through narrow by-lanes and up and down rusty stairways, across green thickets and long stretches of wastelands.  Squeezing itself between them on the last bench of the classroom it waits almost in anticipation for the bell to ring, before latching on to their bicycles and speeding away as if there were no tomorrow.

‘Parava’ is a charming coming-of-age tale with a liberal dose of backtales thrown in.  It does gallantly buck time-honoured storytelling strategies with innovative modes of its own, and yet leaves you with that faint regret that despite all its artistry and ambition, it’s not that absolute, flawless piece of cinema that would have left you in a daze.


Verdict: Above Average


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