G. Marthandan’s third film, Pavada (Skirt), looks into the lives of two diehard drunkards, Pambu Joy (Prithviraj) and Babu Joseph (Anoop Menon).

While Joy is a school drop-out, making a living doing odd jobs, Joseph is an English professor who quotes Shakespeare now and then. Both share a love for the bottle, though. And both their lives have been wrecked by it.

Joy’s wife Sicily (Mia George), a nurse, has given up on him and leaves home to work at a home for the elderly.

Babu Joseph has lost his lover, with whom his wedding was fixed. Every night, after downing a few pegs, Joseph will inevitably stop his car by her house and hurl a stone at her window. And, without fail, the window will open but his lover never appears at the window, leaving Joseph shouting at her.

The two men meet at a rehab centre, where they share a room. From becoming friends to planning their escape together, Joy finds a place in Babu Joseph’s home as well in his heart.

The first half moves at a jolly pace around the lives of the two men and their antics, albeit for a bit too long. You wonder where the film is heading.

The story goes on a different track after Joy stumbles upon a closed box in Joseph’s house. When he opens it, the pavada is bared.

What is inside the box that drives Joy into a fury, ready to take Joseph’s life? Why is Joseph annoyed when anyone calls him ‘Pavada Babu?’

Delving into the past lives of Joy and Joseph, the narrative, from an easy pace in the first half, changes tack completely, into one where the two alcoholics take charge of their lives. Facing them is an issue that will bring disrepute to Joy’s old mother, now living in an old age home.

Prithviraj as Joy is a contrast to the Moideen of Ennum Ninte Moideen. Stepping into Joy’s shoes, the actor lets himself go. Fans are in for a treat.

Anoop Menon, with his salt and pepper hair, is at ease as the mature professor. Staying with the professor is his old faithful Man Friday played by Nedumudi Venu. The veteran, the natural that he is, holds viewers in awe. I loved his drunken scene with Prithviraj.

Siddique, another veteran, plays lawyer Anantharaman Iyer. Brimming with confidence and a little arrogant too, Iyer is very convincing.

UAE resident Asha Sharath brings in the emotional resonance. As Joy’s mother, she is wonderful. Maniyan Pillai Raju, the producer of the film, plays Gunashekaran, Joseph’s friend and an advocate.

Marthandan tucks away a little surprise underneath the pavada, for the end.

Look out for the woman behind the open window, the professor’s lover.