Written and Directed by: C Aravind Raj
Cast: Amithash, R Sarathkumar, Kashmira Pardeshi
Duration: 146 Minutes
Available in: Theatres
In Paramporul, Inspector Mythreyan (Sarathkumar), a man driven by his greed, forces a petty thief Adhi (Amitash Pradhan) to meet a client and smuggle an antique idol. The deal seems to be going well until the other party suddenly decides to call it off. The gang’s leader asks Mythreyan, “Don’t you know the rules, why would you carry a gun when we are here to discuss a deal?” His tone tells us that he isn’t angry enough to kill them but feels offended by this action.
Honesty, loyalty and ethics are the last things you can think of in the smuggling world of debutant C Aravind Raj's Paramporul. Yet, ironically, trust is what the deals between these smugglers are based on, it seems. And the filmmaker cleverly introduces us to these unwritten rules of the game. Each person is constantly scheming to take down the other person or at least is getting their defenses ready, just in case the opposite party breaks the trust. For instance, when a dealer goes to buy an expensive idol, both parties carry hidden weapons. While one waits cautiously in doubt, the other has an escape plan in mind. Even amateur smugglers like Mythreyan see Adhi more as a scapegoat than a partner-in-crime. Adhi also has a backup plan to ensure that he doesn’t get betrayed. Not only do these sneak peeks into the smuggling arena aid in worldbuilding but also create a parallel plot, where you are always left curious if one of these protagonists would pull that trigger.
Mythreyan is a cop who started as an honest officer but changed paths after a series of struggles. He wants to earn as much as he can to keep his estranged wife and daughter happy. On the other hand, Adhi has a sister who needs immediate surgery. They join hands to sell the idol and mint money quickly. We are more invested in them because of their cleverness, and their naive yet daring move to enter an unknown world of gangsters. There is no question about whether we empathise with either of them or think their actions are justified. Both of them are morally wrong. However, after a point, the filmmaker seems to be struggling with how to take his characters forward. So he builds a morality angle, which lends itself to many twists but also feels jarring.
Paramporul also has snippets of dark comedy like one where the duo tries to get the idol expert (who evaluates the quality of these statues for the bad guys) to side with them at a crucial point in the film. But the relationship between the expert and Mythreyan goes way back and is not a memory they both want to relive. So, we wait curiously to see if they will succeed. This thrilling sequence instead comically plays out like a part of the “Mathi Yosi” round in the Adhu Idhu Edhu reality show.
With Sarathkumar’s back-to-back cop performances in Por Thozhil and Paramporul, he reassures us that his second innings is one to look forward to. Unlike Loganathan in Por Thozhil, Mythreyan is several times shadier and is equal times animated. The actor brings a certain charm to his character that even when he is exuberant about doing something wrong, the excitement reflects on the screen, props to Yuvan Shankar Raja who knows when to keep the mood murkier and when lively. These crime thrillers manage to get us invested in their buddy protagonists, making us hopeful of seeing a lot more of such duos in Tamil cinema. While both have inventive sequences, the tautness in Por Thozhil’s screenplay is what Paramporul misses. Whenever the focus shifts from the duo roaming around the streets with the idol, the plot fails to engage you and cliches like an unnecessary romantic angle and one-note villains slacken its pace.
A lot of what happens in this thriller is also conveniently coincidental. The leads procure the idol by luck and Adhi chances upon big buyers; each of them randomly happens to know people who are into statue-making even though entering into this whole racket was done on a whim. While a few of these come across as contrived, sometimes it is real enough to pass it as a coincidence, and at other times, you do have a twist waiting to show a clearer picture. But with twists too late and rushed, we are only left wanting more.