There are 18 moves in kalaripayattu. And if all these fail, there is the 19th–Puzhikkadakan. This is a deceptive move in which the fighter obscures the opponent’s vision and disarms or kills the enemy. The term puzhikkadakan or its more popular alternative ‘avasanathe adavu’, or last resort, is used to denote that one is at his/her wit’s end and will attempt the riskiest move in a do or die attempt.
Puzhikkadakan is the story of a soldier Havildar Samuel/Sam (Chemban Vinod), who faces a tragedy back home. And having tried everything to get justice, he is forced to engage in a gambit that could very well end his life.
Sam’s arrival at his village in Idukki on leave is quite dramatic. His neighbour and friend Koshy (Alencier) in a drunken haze mistakenly interprets a late-night phone call to be that of Sam’s death. A surprised Sam is welcomed by a host of bewildered villagers drinking hot black tea outside his home early morning. There is a reason for stretching out the opening scene. That’s how the 120-minute film feels like, a stretch.