There had been movies before, based on the expat lives in the Middle East, especially the expats Keralites. All of them touched one or another aspect of the life in the desert nations. When the movie Diamond Necklace showed how an unmarried youngster could get in deep trouble financially with his lifestyle, the movie Arabikkatha discussed the life of Malayalis on a general note and was more of a personal story based in Dubai rather than focussing on the life of the Keralites there.
Happened to watch the movie Pathemaari, by Salim Ahmed( couldn’t watch it at the theatres since i was busy then with work and exams) . The director who made his mark with his debut venture Adaminte Makan Abu, makes a superb comeback with Pathemaari, after a lacklustre movie Kunjananthante Kada.
The movie discusses the life of all the malayalis in the Middle East, through the life of Pallikkal Narayanan, one of the first Keralites to seek their fortune in the desert. Hardships faced by the people who migrated in dhows(Pathemaari) braving rough seas and how people died at sea even before reached the land which promised a better life are shown in detail. Through the life of Narayanan, one gets to see the life of every expat who struggles to make a living and give his family a happy life. In the scene where he makes a call home, he is given a list of things to be done and money to be sent and his well being only comes second to all that.
The two scenes which break every moviegoer’s heart are the ones in which Narayanan who does everything for his niece’s wedding only gets to attend the wedding by listening to hustle and bustle at home on phone, and when his wife details him of all the variety of food they had, while he has just the dry bread.
The scene where his son refuses to keep his coffin at the house which built with his hard earned money over the years, shows the harsh reality at least some of the expats face. After they spend a lion’s share of their life in the desert, trying to give their family a good life, all they get is such treatment from the near and dear.
In short, the movie is a reminder of the hardships faced by the expats which gave their family a good life and Kerala economy a boom. The direction is back to the level we got to see in Adaminte Makan Abu. Mammooty excels in the role of Pallikkal Narayanan and Sreenivasan and others gives a great performance as his friend Moideen and others. Resul Pookkuty handles the audio department well. A good movie with a relevant subject , executed well. Not to be missed.
Image courtesy: Onlookers Media