Pada (2022)


Director Kamal KM’s sophomore directorial Pada, is an unfiltered retelling of a real-life protest that took place in the Palakkad district of Kerala in 1996.


Language : Malayalam

Director : Kamal K.M.

Writers : Kamal K.M.

Cast : Kunchako Boban, Joju George, Dileesh Pothan, Vinayakan, Arjun Radhakrishnan and Prakash Raj

Genre : Thriller

Imdb: Pada (2022)

Streaming on Amazon Prime.

Director Kamal KM’s sophomore directorial Pada, is an unfiltered retelling of a real-life protest that took place in the Palakkad district of Kerala in 1996.

This daring act involved 4 men belonging to the ‘Ayyankali Pada’ taking the then collector of Palakkad as hostage with a demand of restoring the actual clauses in the unjustly amended ‘Adivasi Tribal Land Act’.

Focusing solely on the hostage mission, Pada hardly compromises its narrative for cinematic liberties and delivers a true recount of events that unfolded on the D-Day. At the end of the film, we are shown snippets of the aftermath of the event and how these groups are still denied their rights. It made me think of Pada from a different perspective where I now see it as Kamal KM’s protest against the continued injustice. The true happenings of 96 are used as a tool by the director to shed light upon the fact that nothing has changed in the lives of the tribals even after all these years; promises have remained as promises.

To the film’s credit, it stays away from showcasing the plight of the marginalized for the sake of generating sympathy but addresses them through its dialogues and honest presentation.

One can tag Pada in the league of films like Naayattu and Visaranai, both dealing with subjects where the system fails its people. However, while both of those films managed to create a numbing impact on the audience, the same cannot be said about Pada. Even though it educates you, and at times, prods you to think about the unjust actions towards the tribals, it just doesn’t hit you hard enough; the film’s only shortcoming.

At just 125 minutes, Pada is crisp and effective in showcasing a detailed narrative of the true events. Kamal KMs extensive research shows in the screenplay and stays close to the actual incidents (only the names of the characters are tweaked). Vishnu Vijay’s bgm and soundtrack are laudable and they play a major role in increasing the tension in scenes.

The casting is on point and all of them have put up earnest performances. Kunchako Boban has been very particular with his script selections of late and Pada is another golden addition to his filmography. Among the others, Arjun Radhakrishnan puts up an honest performance as the empathetic collector who tries to assess and respond to the situation, even while held captive.

Overall, Pada is a must-watch for its focused making and the genuine story that it wants to tell.

Verdict – 5/7 stars



  • Based on a true story.

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Ananth Krishnan

Consultant by profession and a hardcore cinephile by heart, Ananth was always into movies right from a very young age and started analysing the nuances. He developed a passion for reviewing films later and idolises Baradwaj Rangan whom he considers a critic god. If not watching and writing about films he likes discussing and debating about films with his friends and close ones. He also loves public speaking, debating and cricket.

You can follow him on Instagram @_ananthkrishnan_.

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