Pazhassi raja travels back in time to the 18th century when Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja hailing from the Kottayam Royal family stood up to face the unjust policies of the East India Company which had tried to establish its regime. Pazhassi Raja raised his voice against the unjust revenue policy, which they tried to impose in Malabar. The tax policy caused much chaos and there was widespread agitation.
The film opens with Veeravarma essayed by veteran actor Thilakan sending a letter to the East India Company informing them of collecting taxes on their behalf. This endeavour is later taken up by Pazhayamveedan Chandhu played by Suman. However Pazhassi Raja strongly opposes this move and harps on guerilla warfare to establish peace in the area.
The Company unable to come to terms with Pazhassi Raja"s rebellion enters into a treaty with him. However as we are all aware of the Company treacherous ways, they do not keep their word and leads to a war between Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja and the East India Company. The Kurichiyar tribe members offer support to the king in his fight for justice.
Thalakkal Chanthu (Manoj K Jayan) leads the tribals, while Edachena Kunkan (Sarath Kumar) the commander-in-chief of Pazhassi Raja offer unflinching support to the King. The Lion of Kerala, as he was fondly known had to forsake his kingdom and family in this war for freedom.
Mammootty has proven once again that he has more mettle than anyone can vouchsafe for. Tamil actor Sarath Kumar is a pleasant surprise and Manoj K Jayan is back with a bang. The manliness of these three characters is a novel sight for the audience. Kaniha as Pazhassi Raja"s wife Makkam, Suresh Krishna as Kaitheri Ambu, Lalu Alex as Emman Nair, Captain Raju as Unni Mootha add to the meaning of the cinema. So also Peter Evans as Major James and Harry Key as Thomas, the representatives of the East India Company deserve special credit for their performance.
With the music by Ilayaraja and special sound effects by Resul Pookutty, the movie is a treat for movie lovers. Technically, the movie scales higher and so does the camera work by Venu and Ramanath Shetty.
The film suffers from minor hitches like the foreign accent of Padmapriya who has dubbed for herself and some sloppy fight scenes. However one may overlook these weaknesses, considering the film in its entirety. History let us leave it to the historians, but as a piece of art, the movie definitely commends applause. Awards are definitely in the line we hope for Pazhassi Raja.
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