Book Review – Pallikondapuram

Posted: May 1, 2017 in Book Reviews
Tags: , ,

Life isn’t simple

For people who have read, with a title like this you wouldn’t have expected the story to be like this right? It was the same with me too. We can’t be blamed for that. That’s the intention of Neela Padmanabhan. Such a prolific write. All through the novel I was thinking that in my review, I’d write it as a novel which I didn’t understand. But thanks to the intriguing last one hundred pages I don’t think I’ve to do so.


Pallikondapuram is nothing short of a marvel. It’d take some time to settle it. If you are religious you’ll start getting into the groove right away. For me it was a tough fifty pages at start. The book starts with detailed description of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. I haven’t been there and I wasn’t really absorbing what was written. The description there painted me picture of Thanjai Periya Kovil rather. I felt like Ananthan Nayar was sitting there right beside the pond at the back of the temple and describing it. To be honest I wasn’t flabbergasted when I went to the temple. It was all weird procedures there. Felt very much like how I felt in Puri Jagannath Temple, not at home. But when I read this book I found an all new meaning for Thanjai Periya Kovil.

Ananthan Nayar is a torn and tortured middle class Brahmin. You’d never want to live a life like that. It was a sadder version of About Schmidt. I felt read bad for him. Initially I was of the opinion that he was the wrong guy, then it got confusing, then felt like he was the good guy and finally accepted that it’s not for me to decide. The book is very much Tarkovskian. Very much like Brothers Karamzov and Crime and Punishment. I might reread Crime and Punishment again next which might give me a clearer picture. It’s accepted universally that Russian literature is the one we connect to the most. The climax chapters of this book was similar to Brothers Karamzov and the confusions of Rashkolnikov was like that of Ananthan Nayar.

It’s actually a one man show. If I had to make a movie of it, I’d cast Poornam Vishwanathan in it. The Malayalam laced language in the book was tough to get onto it. When people said Ezam Ulagam Tamil would be tough to understand, it wasn’t really like it. Ezam Ulagam worked wonders for me but this one was very tough initially.

The book had detailing similar to Lord of the Rings, where the build ups go on and on and literature similar to Crime and Punishment.  What’s best is it’s Tamil and you can completely understand what’s going on.

The characters are not just another human being on the planet earth. Each one is so complex, undergoes such turmoil that it actually makes you fear life. Iranian movies have this capacity to put you into depression. Separation was the last thing which did to me.

If there are works which celebrates life, these are works which make us writhe life. Nevertheless we end up loving both. That’s how life is isn’t it. Not simple!


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