Film: Parava; Director: Soubin Shahir; Cast: Dulquer Salman, Shane Nigam, Gregory
Soubin Shaheer's debut movie Parava begins with a series of frames that freezes the soul of the vibrant Mattanchery. Dingy homes and buzzing alleyways set the canvas here, on which Soubin etches a deeply emotional tale of a few people with uneventful lives, in a captivating visual language. We are led to this myriad-hued world, where people thrive in the little pleasures of life, through the eyes of two naive children obsessed with the unusual sports of pigeon racing.
Ichappi (Amal Sha) and Habeeb (Govind V Pai) spend their days consumed by their unbridled
passion for pigeons. Tending the winged wonders and revelling in the hopes of winning the race in the coming year, the duo moves on unhindered while a parallel narrative unfolds. There, we meet Imran (Dulquer Salman) and Shane (Shane Nigam), two lives lost in the maze called survival. With memories of happy past and terrible presence to dwell on, a bunch of characters exist here with little or no aspirations.
And, to narrate this tale, Soubin uses the most potent of all styles; realism. The characters are raw, they look earthy and their acts aren't any different.
Not once does Soubin resort to any kind of luxury or dramatics to establish them and the only accessory his characters possess is their familiarity. Be it Dulquer's big brother character Imran or lifeless Shane, they are true and original.
Parava is a mixed bag, it has enough grim moments. Nevertheless, its innocence is intact. That's mostly due to the two children who put up a great performance. Ironically, it is Ichappy and Habeeb who have the most mature solutions to human dilemmas. While Ichappy is stumped to see his school crush getting married to someone who he considers a brother, Habeeb has a perfect solution. He advises that " the issue will be solved for once by calling her sister". With such subtle humour, these characters emerge the strongest in the narrative.
But, one can't say the same about the other track. Yes, Dulquer's Imran does strike a chord with us, but how his tale pans out towards the climax isn't entirely satisfactory. It is on this parallel track that Soubin falters a bit. Some of the sequences might seem a bit dramatic, compromising the movie's realistic nature.
Parava also wins in the cinematography department with Little Swayamp doing a great work in his debut movie. Rex Vijayan's tunes set the mood.
And, for Soubin, who has been a steady presence in the industry for quite some time, this is a worthy debut. True, Parava might have its share of flaws, but this is undoubtedly a movie with a heart. And, for the folks in Mattanchery, this is a perfect tribute to the quaint little coastal town.