Penpattanam Review

Review- Penpattanam

Producer- Maha Subair

Director- V.M.Vinu

Cast- Revathy, KPAC Lalitha, Shwetha Menon, Vishnupriya, Nedumudi Venu, Lal etc.

Music- M.G.Sreekumar

Lyrics- Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri, Anil Panachooran

Story- Ranjith

Screenplay, dialogues- T.A.Razak

Review By : Unni /

Story by Ranjith, scripting by T.A.Razak, direction by V.M.Vinu and the likes of Revathy and Shwetha Menon in key roles; you’d expect something big, something different. But does ‘Penpattanam’ justify those expectations? I don’t think so. The film of course is well-made and can be enjoyed, with good performances being put in by the lead players and plain, interesting story-telling as its highlight. But still, there are things that are amiss.

‘Penpattanam’ is the story of four workers of Kudumbashree, the women-oriented mission run by the government of Kerala. Shantha (KPAC Lalitha), Girija (Revathy), Suhra (Shwetha Menon) and Raji (Vishnupriya) are Kudumbashree workers who collect waste from houses and streets of Kozhikode. They have their own problems and worries. Shantha has a son who doesn’t go for any work and never cares to look after his wife and kids. Suhra’s husband Chandran (Saadique) is a painter who’s now bed-ridden after having suffered a fall. Girija’s husband is no more and she has to look after her two kids. Raji is the youngest of the four and is in love with Mani (Kailash), who once used to work for the Hawala racket, but is now reformed and works as a plumber and wishes to earn money by working hard. Unnithan (Nedumudi Venu) is a greedy moneylender on whom Shantha and Girija depend when some urgency comes up. It’s in the meantime that the four ladies happen to get, from among the garbage, a bag containing thirty lakh rupees (which is in fact Hawala money). Though the others want to take it, Girija advises them against doing so. They decide to take it to the police. But on reaching the Police station, they change their minds as they feel that the cops too are a helpless lot. They then take it to Unnithan and give it to him, on condition that he lends it out to others and give them a share of the interest made out of it. It’s then that Antony (Lal), the upright police officer, takes up the investigation of the murder of Ashraf, the guy who had carried the hawala money. His investigation leads him to the four women. The story takes off from there.

‘Penpattanam’ is appealing due to its simple and straight kind of narrative and also because this is the first attempt in Malayalam cinema to zoom in on Kudumbashree workers. The performance side is very much up to the mark and so are the technical features. But at the same time the film fails to rise above the average mark as it doesn’t say anything new, story-wise. There is no attempt to delve into feministic issues either. Plot-wise and theme-wise the film doesn’t offer anything new or exemplary and hence to an extent ‘Penpattanam’ is an effort gone waste.


On the performance side, every one of the actors does justice to his or her part. Yet, it’s Revathy who outscores others, performing the character of Girija with utmost ease and finesse. KPAC Lalitha is good and does her role in her usual style. Shwetha Menon is no doubt good, but could have done better had the character been worked out better. Vishnupriya and Kailash render able support. Nedumudi Venu, the seasoned actor that he is, does perfect justice to his part and Lal impresses as Antony.

Technical aspects

‘Penpattanam’ is not the kind of film in which we look for too much of technical brilliance. Still, it’s to be noted that the technical aspects are all very much in sync with the mood of the film. Sanjeev Shankar does a good work of the cinematography while editing by P.C.Mohanan too is good.


The background score suits the mood and the tempo but coming to the songs, the film doesn’t offer anything exemplary.


It’s the story and the scripting that has to take the blame. On the story side, the problem with ‘Penpattanam’ is that it offers nothing new. All the pre-release talk about the film delving into women’s issues seems a mere hype now since the film narrates just a usual filmy kind of story, with not much of a message to deliver. The script too could have been better. Many of the scenes are clichéd ones and some of the dialogues could have been penned better. Ranjith, who had penned the story and T.A.Razak, who had penned the script, could definitely have done a better work and could have given us a real memorable film, with such a great cast at their disposal and with this backdrop to work against.


V.M.Vinu is in ‘Penpattanam’ the very same director who has given us ‘Balettan’, ‘Makante Achchan’, ‘Yes Your Honour’ etc. His style of direction remains the same and he has done his job fairly well. He could perhaps have done better with a better plot and a better script.

Overall verdict- Good, but nothing outstanding…Just so so!

Rating: 2.5/5

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