A deeply emotional story laced with surprisingly humorous moments and crowned by one of the best performances of Ramesh Aravind’s illustrious career.
OVERALL SCORE – 3.75/5
Pushpaka Vimana is a 2017 Kannada drama film written and directed by S. Ravindranath. It stars Ramesh Aravind, Yuvina Parthavi, Ravi Kale and a whole host of character actors. The film explores the life of a mentally challenged father and his daughter after a specific incident sends the father to prison.
Pushapaka Vimana achieves its goal of being a heartfelt film with deeply affecting emotions. When I could hear people in the audience (both men and women) bawl out crying at specific scenes, I was quite convinced the film had struck a strong emotional chord with most of them. In the interest of full disclosure, I have not seen the original Korean film, The Miracle in Cell No.7, Pushpaka Vimana is based on. I went in cold and was extremely impressed by the craft on display.
Having an actor of Ramesh Aravind’s caliber play the lead of the film might be the best thing that ever happened to it. A lesser actor could have botched the role beyond repair and the film on a whole would have turned into a hodgepodge of poorly executed emotions. Ramesh Aravind grounds the film in a sort of heartbreaking but life-affirming reality which most other actors may not have been able to achieve. His whole characterization is revealed with the first frame, looking at which left me speechless, and he essays the role with the innocence of a child and the maturity of a father. The film wisely takes the advice of Sgt. Lincoln Osiris from Tropic Thunder and does not let his character go full “R-word” and gives the audience a character to connect to and empathize with.
Almost all the other actors play their roles to a tee and sell the reality the story is set in. The props and set design along with a vivid color palette add a whole new dimension to the film and prevent it from being a wholly melodramatic experience. The film is lit and shot with a quirky but unique style. The songs which are few and far between are added to create emotional resonance and go about doing their jobs quite admirably, all but one of them.
The film does have a few flaws. Most of these flaws can be overlooked by the audience at large and do not affect the story the film is trying to tell. The score used to evoke emotions during many a scene might drag the film down by a few pegs. The plot in itself has a few holes, none of which are glaring but one could feel that a few moments spent clearing those could have helped the overall story. The film has one of the most well directed and acted scenes one can find in Kannada films which taints itself by going for a few moments too long. There is a logical conclusion to the scene that the film chooses not to take advantage of and it hurt the final outcome by a small margin. An ill-advised song may or may not hurt the film, but that might be subjective. There are a few moments of the film which follow the much-maligned tell don’t show rule and those moments stick out like sore thumbs against a film which has been well-crafted throughout.
The film may or may not lose its emotional resonance after multiple viewing going on the law of diminishing returns. But on its first watch, it is bound to hook most viewers in with its simplistic story and universally relatable themes.
Ramesh Aravind gets one last mention for being one of the best actors I have had the pleasure of watching on the big screen. Just an example of how good he is throughout the film, I ask any reader interested in watching the film to observe the ring finger in his hand and the way it remains half-bent, when he waves to people, throughout the runtime of the movie. It is a joy to watch a performer so dedicated to the role and he elevates the film from being a run of the mill story to a truly investing journey.
OVERALL SCORE – 3.75/5