Krishand's direction is marvelous!
Purusha Pretham (Malayalam)
- Cast: Darshana Rajendran, Prasanth Alexander, Jagadish, Geethi Sangeetha, Mala Parvathy, Devaki Rajendran, James Elia, Shiny Sara, Jolly Chirayath, and Sanju Sivaram
- Director: Krishand
- Producers: Mankind Cinema, Symmetry Cinema, and Einstein Media
- Music: Ajmal Hasbulla
- Runtime: 2 hours 32 minutes
- OTT platform: Sony Liv
The title of Krishand’s latest directorial, Purusha Pretham (Male Ghost) and the trailer give us the impression that the story revolves around a male ghost and its backstory.
However, much to our surprise, this is not a horror film. Instead, this is a neo-noir cop drama which is uncommon in Malayalam cinema.
The movie revolves around a male dead body which the cops refer to as “Pretham” (ghost).
The story deals with the unidentified dead bodies that go missing after they are buried in the low-lying areas of Ernakulam district due to the unavailability of crematoriums.
This is director Krishand’s third feature film after his Kerala State Film Award-winning (2022) flick Aavasavyuham (Habitat).
An unexplored theme
Set in 2017, Purusha Pretham is a hilarious ride of events that happen in the lives of three persons: Super Sebastian (Prasanth Alexander), Dileep (Jagadish), and Susanna (Darshana Rajendran).
However, these comic events are presented in a unique way which is new to Malayali audiences.
The movie takes us directly into the story where a dead body is found in a river and is shifted to a government mortuary after a postmortem. The body is buried after three days as nobody claims it.
The director incorporates newspaper clippings that throw light on missing cases and dead bodies being found. That’s a good way to substantiate the happenings in the story.
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The plot then shifts to the police procedures and the conversations among cops about their boring duty near the government mortuary till somebody claims the body.
The flick also speaks about people with vested interests like owning dead bodies for personal gain!
These all are new to Malayalam audiences who are otherwise used to the punch dialogues delivered by police characters.
Apparently, director Krishand and scriptwriter Ajith Haridas have come up with a subject hitherto untouched by mainstream filmmakers.
Purusha Pretham is a hilarious police procedural revolving around the mystery of a missing corpse. Enjoy this entertainer with never-ending laughs and thrills.#PurushaPretham #SonyLIV #PurushaPrethamOnSonyLIV @darshanarajend @krishand_rk @maalaparvathi1 pic.twitter.com/BMm6Va57Eb
— Sony LIV (@SonyLIV) March 24, 2023
Coming to the next major twist, Susanna visits the Chelannoor police station to claim the body of her missing husband. Her character is good but should have been explored more.
Even though Super Sebastian tries to convince Susanna that it’s not her missing husband’s body, she isn’t convinced and seeks the High Court’s intervention as the body is buried.
This is when the actual story begins; the legal battle between Susanna and the police department is as engaging as a cat-and-mouse chase.
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The character of Sebastian has different layers. He is an unmarried person and has an affair with Sujatha (Devika Rajendran), a married woman. This relationship has an important part to play in the movie.
Darshana Rajendran has less screen space as compared to Sebastian. But the director gives an interesting twist to her role.
Prasanth Alexander is brilliant as Sebastian and the role will give him a break in his career.
Jagadish gets to play a substantial role as Dileep after his amazing performance in Rorschach.
Not a usual cop drama
Purusha Pretham makes references to the hierarchy in the police department. It is also vocal about caste discrimination.
In one instance, Dileep’s son-in-law questions him if he took a dead body from the river as they belonged to a backward community. To this, Dileep answers that he will do anything if his superior officer asks him to do.
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At one point, the director even makes his main character ask a person if he has gone anonymous having lost his wallet and all his identity cards.
In another instance, Dileep tells his fellow cops that Super Sebastian is a cruel police officer who beats culprits in black and blue. But, in reality, this isn’t true. However, Sebastian is more of a frustrated cop.
The movie travels through different genres like horror, black comedy, and investigative thriller. But this doesn’t make the audience lose their patience as it’s well-crafted.
The climax of Purusha Pretham testifies to the brilliance of the director.
Secrets about the missing dead bodies after they are buried are detailed by senior police officers and surgeons after the end-credit scenes. This gives the movie the feel of a docu-fiction.
Suhail Backer’s editing is slick and elevates the movie.
Purusha Pretham is a well-crafted movie with an important and unexplored theme. Through this, director Krishand proves that he would be an asset to the Malayalam film industry.
The film is streaming on Sony LIV.
(Views expressed are personal.)