Palthu Janwar review: A tender-hearted, easy-going film about animal welfare

Palthu Janwar marks Sangeth P Rajan’s debut as a director and he is here to stay. Basil Joseph excels in his role as a livestock inspector.

ByPS Arjun

Published:Sep 03, 2022

palthu Janwar malayalam film basil joseph
The film appeals to a majority of viewers.

Palthu Janwar (Malayalam)

  • Cast: Basil Joseph, Indrans, Johny Antony, Dileesh Pothan, Shammi Thilakan and Sruthy Suresh
  • Director: Sangeeth P Rajan
  • Producers: Fahadh Faasil, Dileesh Pothan and Syam Pushkaran
  • Music: Justin Varghese
  • Runtime: 1 hour 58 minutes

The trailer and the promo song of Sangeeth P Rajan’s Palthu Janwar — which hit the cinema halls on Friday, 2 September — had piqued the interest of audiences, when they were released. And with good reason, it would seem.

The film has domesticated animals playing key roles: A plot that few debutant directors would dare to try. Yes, Palthu Janwar marks Rajan’s debut as a director in Malayalam cinema and I must say, he is here to stay. Here’s why:

Prasoon, the central character played by Basil Joseph, is a young guy who aspires to be an animator. But life has different plans for him and he repeatedly fails to land his dream job.

After his father’s death, he is forced to do something that he had never dreamt of.

He is offered a job as a livestock inspector in a veterinary hospital in Kudiyanmala village. Thanks to his circumstances, he accepts the offer, reluctantly though.

Then we are introduced to a beautiful, rustic village and the life of the villagers: Some innocent ones, a few crooked ones, their religious beliefs, the good and the bad of the countryside, and yes, their superstitions.

Freshness in all aspects

basil joseph in palthu janwar

Basil Joseph played the role of a livestock inspector in Sangeeth P Rajan’s directorial debut Palthu Janwar. (basiljoseph25/Twitter)

Through Palthu Janwar, Rajan narrates a simple story — laced with loads of humour and emotion — about a group of villagers for whom their farm/domesticated animals are family.

The story revolves around the veterinary hospital and how Prasoon overcomes the challenges he faces as part of his job. It also showcases the intense emotional bond that a person shares with his/her pets.

From the choice of characters to their backgrounds, actors, and major locations, the director wins. The movie adds freshness to every technical aspect.

The soundtrack by Justin Varghese gives proper momentum to the plot. There are also two lovely songs.

Art direction and VFX are simply outstanding. The geography of Iritty (a location in the Kannur district) is a part of the narrative and Ranadive’s beautiful visuals support the overall tone.

Vinoy Thomas and Aneesh Anjali’s script is excellent. They moulded the characters — not only the protagonist, but supporting characters too — beautifully.

For example, a panchayat member (played by Indrans) who neglects his duties on purpose is a symbol of the disregard the people’s representatives have for their responsibilities. It is written and performed very well.

Effortless performances

Basil Joseph brings alive on screen the young man who feels shackled about choosing his way of life. He conveys the character’s helplessness through his eyes and simple facial expressions.

Prasoon is a character a majority of us can easily relate with. In fact, a couple of his dialogues hit us hard because most of us might have gone through the same situations in our lives.

Needless to say, Basil is getting better as an actor with each film. Shammy Thilakan was the scorer. It was fun watching all his comic expressions. Indeed, we feel like seeing more of him.

Indran’s role as a panchayat member is one of his most impressive works. Johnny Antony as a cattle farmer gives a heartfelt performance.

Sruthy Suresh as Stephy, Dileesh Pothan as the Church father and other artists, too, did a marvelous job.

The audience will be amazed at how they all handled their respective characters with extraordinary ease and make us laugh every time they appear on-screen.

A delightful watch

Palthu Janwar is the third film produced by three of the most trustworthy names in Malayalam cinema — Dileesh Pothan, Fahadh Faasil and Shyam Pushkaran, under the banner of Bhavana Studios.

Just like their previous movies — Kumbalangi Nights and Joji — this one too is a delightful watch.

The film speaks of animal welfare in a refreshing way. In fact, it reiterates the fact that domesticated animals are living beings too and deserve care like us humans.

It has drama, humour and pathos. It is a tender-hearted, easy-going film that will appeal to a majority of viewers.