Are successful persons the ones who spend the autumn of their life in a comfy chair in the shade of a tree on their courtyard, reading newspapers and sipping tea, watching their grandkids play? What about those who work hard all their lives to get past each day?

If you were able to give a moment's happiness to others, if your siblings are well settled because of you, you are a successful man. It doesn't matter whether you lived your life for yourself, says Pallikkal Narayanan of 'Pathemari' -- words the audience take with them while leaving the theatres and keep in their hearts for a while.

Director Salim Ahamed's third directorial venture 'Pathemari', like his first one -- simple-yet-deep 'Adaminte Makan Abu', is about people and their small dreams. It is the first movie in Malayalam to give a picture of the first generation of Gulf migrants who embarked on a dangerous journey in 'lanchis' (uru) in search of the 'Arabian gold'. 

They spent months in the lanchis in the turbulent sea uncertain of tomorrow. That was their first step towards sacrificing their lives for their families. There wasn't enough food or water. There were no medicines. Not all of them survived that journey to see the 'Gulf' or Persia. 

Narayanan was one of them. He, along with his best friend Moideen, boards the lanchi of 'Lanchi'  Velayudhan who has taken several people to the Gulf. After months of dreadful sea journey, they are asked to jump into the sea off Khor Fakkan and hide behind the rocks so the police won't see them. One of the most touching scenes of the movie is of those people swimming to the shores in the night -- hopeful, determined.

Thus begins the life of an expatriate -- a 'Gulf Malayali'. Narayanan gets a job, he goes home on holidays, gets married, has children, helps his siblings build their lives, and he wants to come back for good. But he can't. He goes again and never returns. The life of an expatriate is never his. The needs of his family never end.

A roommate of Narayanan listens to the audio tapes sent by his wife, which contain mostly her complaints and needs. He turns that off and decides to listen to a 'kathu pattu' instead. Well, that sums it up.

'Pathemari' is an ode to Gulf Malayali. 

Both of director Salim Ahamed's previous films were notable works, though the second one - Kunjananthante Kada - faced criticism for being 'politically incorrect'. 'Pathemari' is another film he can be proud of. 

He has also written the screenplay. The dialogues on many occasions in the first half sound dramatic, though there were gems of dialogues too. 

For Mammootty, with his vast experience, portraying Pallikkal Narayanan is nothing but a cake walk. Film lovers hope that he selects more such roles which do justice to his calibre. Sreenivasan as Moideen was a delight to watch. Jewel Mary as Nalini, Narayanan's wife, has performed well. Siddique, as Lanchi Velayudhan. who loses his mind somewhere in the sea journeys, did his best. Shaheen Siddique debuts as Narayanan's son. The cast also includes Joy Mathew, Salim Kumar, and Sunil Sugatha.

The film has a superb team behind the camera. Madhu Ambat is the cinematographer, Vijay Shankar is the editor and Resul Pookkutty is the sound designer. Together they have made 'Pathemari' a wonderful cinematic experience.

Bijibal's music, especially the song 'Pathemari' sets the mood of the film. Rafeeq Ahamed has penned the lyrics.