Unless every single Hindi film released in the coming three months turns out to be a work of genius, I am sticking my neck out and saying this has been annus miserabilis for Bollywood buffs. Relief for serious Hindi viewers has come from indies. Relief for me as a critic reviewing both Bollywood and Mollywood works has come from blessed, beloved Mollywood. Malayalam cinema’s affair with experimentation has continued in 2017, with avant-garde projects featuring both unknowns and established stars striking gold at the box office.
It is in this context that actor Soubin Shahir makes his directorial debut. Parava (Bird) – which he has also co-written with Muneer Ali – is the story of two teenaged boys in Mattancherry juxtaposed against a tragedy in the neighbourhood that tore apart a gang of men friends, including the brother of one of those teens. Irshad (played by Amal Shah) and Haseeb (Govind V Pai) are best buds barely surviving academic challenges and blossoming hormones while they devote themselves to the sport of pigeon racing. This is no innocent pastime. When we first meet them, they are coping with the disappearance of one of their feathered charges and with an aggressive rival played by Shine Tom Chacko.