Schoolkids Irshad and Haseeb are from Fort Kochi and their life revolves around a handful of pigeons, which they nurture for the sport of dove flying. Through the two, their rivals and families, the film unveils the life and culture of the region, its interests and more.
In the world of pigeon fighting, the little white birds are kings sans crowns, and in Kerala, Fort Kochi is one of their kingdoms. At a time when the dove fighters of the State are in the thick of action, Fort Kochi's own Soubin Shahir debuts as a director in Malayalam through the film Parava. He uses the not-yet-explored horizon of the sport as the backdrop to tell the story of his home turf, its many varied characters with painful pasts and present, bittersweet realities of the region and its portraits of friendships.
Irshad (Amal Shah) and Habeeb (Govind V Pai), both of whom schoolkids, spend most of their time rearing their pet pigeons, which they breed for dove flying competition. With some neighbourhood rivals, on and off interests in kite flying and ornamental fishes; and teenage crushes at school, their days are as colourful as teenage life can get. Irshad's brother Shaine (Shane Nigam), meanwhile, leads a quiet life without mingling much with family or friends, after an event in the past that left him shocked. There are events and elements that connect the lives of the brothers, regardless of their independent existence.
There's a striking originality about everything in Parava, from the characters, houses and locales to the story in itself. The plot, except for a certain stretches, is compelling with its unpredictable narrative. For those not familiar with the dove flying game, it offers a lot of interesting imageries like how the birds are sent on flight for the competition, the delicate moments between the owner and the birds, and the like. The film has some earnest and very talented cast, especially the two kids through whom most of the story is showcased. With tremendous screen presence and powerful performance, they don't make you feel at any point that their young shoulders can't carry the movie ahead. Dulquer's extended cameo as Imran positively adds weight to the film. There is a lot of subtle humour too that adds to the quality of the believable and decently gripping proceedings.
As for what doesn't work, the narrative gets a bit jerky and dragging at times. Also, at times you find it tough to figure out the connection between, or even the necessity of many subplots, while watching the film, which interferes with the enjoyment. Though the setting is fresh, the story in itself isn't one that can be termed very strong. The story is also not very clear on how the birds in the dove fight are judged to be winners and so, that can probably leave a few bewildered.
Regardless, Parava can offer you a good movie watching experience, if up for a fresh story, Fort Kochi imageries and mesmerising performances by the child actors.