Movie Review: Are You Ready For ‘Pranayam’ (Mal)?
The newly released 'Pranayam' says that life is more beautiful than a dream, if you know how to live it. And Shameem Faruque says that the movie is an experience in itself for those who connect with it...
On Sep 02, 2011


Pranayam is endless, Blessy says in an interview. In life, you do not choose Pranayam. But Pranayam chooses you. It gallops by and sweeps into its saddle only those it finds sensitive and strong enough to juggle it. Blessy's 'Pranayam' does the same.The posters, the songs as well as the trailers heralded a rare combination of actors not seen so far in Malayalam cinema: Mohanlal, Jayaprada and Anupam Kher and a subtle feeling of something very fragile that Blessy is preparing for Malayalam movie goers this time. But still, I bet, no one could calculate how this gifted craftsman was knitting it this time after his works like ‘Kazhcha’ (2004) and ‘Thanmathra’ (2005). Blessy himself does the story, screenplay and the dialogues of ‘Pranayam’.



Three faces, aged and mature but filled with deep and intense emotions are the main gateway to 'Pranayam' before you hit the theatre. But only if you cross the gate of Sreekumar theatre and watch this piece of creation will you get the unique experience of travelling with them. And mind you, this is not a reckless, boisterous and short-lived picnic of feelings that young minds indulge in. There is no doubt that in the hands of the three stalwarts of talent in Indian cinema, the characters of Mathews, as a retired philosophy professor (Mohanlal), Gracy (JayaPrada) and Achutha Menon (AnupamKher), as a former football player rain upon you with emotions that are powerful, painful, mature, mischievous and liberating at the same time.The two young faces in the movie, played by Apoorva Bose as Achutha Menon’s grand daughter and Sreenath as her boyfriend stand curious and moved by the Pranayam that they watch unraveling between those who are supposed to be in the fag end of their lives.



‘Pranayam’s titles come with sweet one-liners on love. Then Achutha Menon is shown sitting stooped and getting his eyes tested. When he is told to read words from the Bible, he laughingly says that his wife has made him do it so many times. He lives with his daughter-in- law and granddaughter and his son (Anoop Menon) is working abroad. On the phone he chides his father for leaving his wife years back. Later, in a lift Achutha Menon’s eyes falls on Grace…there the story begins.

It softly moves through the alleyways of the human heart, where a woman is caught between two men, who have known her, physically and emotionally and long for her still. But standing their ground, the men show us how serene Pranayam can be. On Jayaprada’s beautiful face the myriad feelings of a woman in love still dances with panache. Their younger years are shown with a steam engine to add to the old time flavour of love. With old age would follow the ailments. But Blessy has used those moments in the hospital as some of the most touching.


Cinematographer Satheesh Kurup has totally supported Blessy in capturing exactly what the sensitive topic demands in creating the right tone and mood with his lighting and camera angles. The sea is also licked in by the lens to show the tumult and calmness of the human mind, not to mention the editing by Raja Mohammed.


Mohanlal lives the character of Mathews who is partially paralysed but still so much in love when he says with vigour, “Pranayam is a fragrance coming from a pure and noble soul.” The actor even tries his hand at singing the great Canadian singer Leonard Cohen’s ‘I Am Your Man’ which his character Mathew says with unabashed confidence to his woman. Anupam Kher effortlessly capturesyour heart as Achutha Menon. His face can silently convey a depth of emotions that no amount of dialogues can. But then, that is no surprise from a born artist and theatre person.



The melodies written by ONV Kurup and the music done by M Jayachandran totally lifts you to the mood of the situations when sung by P Jayachandran, Shreya Goshal, Sharath and Vijay Yesudas. Anoop Menon has done his part well as Achutha Menon’s loving son. And Nayana does the role of today’s matter of fact daughter-in-law. Dhanya Mary Varghese (as Gracy’s daughter) and Niyas; Niveditha and Aaryan in flash backs have done their bit well. Mr and Mrs Sajeev P K produced the movie under the banner of Fragrant Nature Films.




The story opens up a new twist towards the end, which would make that lump in your throat heavier. “Through that door casually kept open, Pranayam would come in without you realizing it,” says Mathews (Mohanlal). Why not open the door of your heart and let Pranayam in? Actually when was the last time you got a whiff of Pranayam in your life?


Image Courtesy: nowrunning.com


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An utter crap @##@@@@
Kk, on Sep 02, 2011 08:39:23 AM
Nice review Shameem.. Loved this movie a lot. Don't know how many people can relate to this.
Sneha, on Sep 02, 2011 10:02:06 AM
Thank you..Sneha..Lucky are those who can connect with 'Pranayam'..fed with the mediocre, it will take a while for the best to be accepted..! n' Thanks Jabbarkoya..another pale side of the same coin..i guess..!
Shameem Faruque, on Sep 04, 2011 06:48:10 PM
movie seems worth a see, its definately a different subject and very bold (in the sense that there wont be many who would watch this-may not make lot of money) such movies can become classics as they connect to reality. Today its entertainment that sells. though the write up does give a positive wibe
Sultan, on Sep 05, 2011 11:14:46 PM
Cuckoo, on Sep 06, 2011 10:38:43 AM
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