First, the theme itself makes the film worth more than just a look. Set in Wayanad (the northern part of Kerala) in the late 18th century, the movie traces the path of Pazhassi Raja (Mammootty) who showed the courage to defy the powerful colonial forces that were threatening to take over his motherland. While kingdoms around him were making hurried alliances with the foreign forces to avoid war, and bending to every wish and whim and rule laid down by them, Pazhassi Raja felt it unacceptable that people who were allowed into the country for trade should begin to dictate terms. His defiance obviously doesn’t go down too well with the forces and a clash is inevitable. The colonial forces, armed with guns and cannons expect to overrun the sword and spear-wielding army of the Raja. The Raja does suffer losses, and is eventually forced to seek refuge in the thick jungles of north Kerala about which the British don’t have a clue. But, this is not before the very core of the British forces has been shaken by the valiant resistance that was put up, when they were expecting a meek surrender in an unevenly matched battle. In the jungle, with his faithful followers consisting of his trusted lieutenant Edachena Kunkan (Sarath Kumar), Pazhassi Raja gathers his forces for a powerful retaliation. He finds willing and able allies in the Tribals, led by Thalakkathu Chanthu (Manoj K Jayan), who know the jungles like no one else does. They devise a hitherto untried plan to counter the firepower of the British, guerilla warfare. In the thick cover of the jungle, the plan is perfect as the foreign forces don’t have a clue about who is hitting them and from where. It looks as if bow and arrow might ultimately get the better of the gun. But, treason lurks and it turns the course of events. But, the fight is not over yet.
The Raja’s men shall not drop arms until none of them stands. That is what Pazhassi Raja is all about, a tale of martyrdom. Everyone in the cast has given their heart to the role. It is not always that an actor gets such an opportunity. Mammootty lives the role of Pazhassi Raja. Majestic and commanding, one of his best performances. The points when he has to try hard to summon courage and resilience Music by Ilayaraja carries the Maestro mark as usual. Resool Pookutty contributes with a fine effort, sounds come alive.Pazhassi Raja is a film that reminds us of the price at which freedom came. It is one great effort and definitely needs to be received with an open mind.