Let me start off with the bad things because I believe in getting the unpleasant business over and done with first. Another reason is that when you are done reading you leave with a pleasant feeling and that is always good.
But before any of that here is the story. The death of revered political leader P. K. Ramdas (Sachin Khedekar) leads to a predictable power struggle among the leaders. His villainous son-in-law Bobby (Vivek Oberoi) tries to install his son Jathin Ramdas (Tovino Thomas) as a puppet to enable him to turn Kerala into a land for production and sale of narcotics. He is opposed by Stephen Nedumpally (Mohanlal), PKR’s right hand man and a struggle ensues.
- Deepak Dev is a talented music director and has given us a number of excellent songs. ‘Chimmi chimmi’ from Urumi is the one that comes to mind immediately. But his work in this film leaves much to be desired. The music is loud and rousing much of the time when it need not be so. The result is that instead of enhancing the narrative it takes away from it. Maybe he could have reduced the number of instruments being used or tried one instrument for each of the movie’s main characters like a single electronic guitar for Stephen and a wailing violin for Priyadarshini Ramdas.
- The unnecessary use of punch lines from previous Mohanlal movies. I guess this is because the fan in Prithviraj took precedence over the storyteller in him (understandable and forgivable). These punch lines were so enjoyable in the movies which they belong to because they were part of some very good dialogue writing and they gelled with the story being told. Taken out of context they seem jarring except for the one line about narcotics being dirty business.
- The ending leaves you disappointed. Of course it’s a thriller and you know that Stephen is going to win despite the odds. Yet it is disappointing because it is away from the place where the main events in the story take place. It is long drawn out and predictable. Plus to mar it is a meaningless item number.
- And the item number. Its inclusion towards the end was entirely unnecessary as it does not add to the narrative, is loud and the music is bad. For some time I thought that the lead dancer had something to do with the denouement. But no. She just salaams and walks away.
- Manju Warrier (playing the role of Priyadarshini Ramdas) is wasted. Yes, it’s true that she has a few powerful scenes but she has very little to do. It would have been better if the character had been developed more. How did she get married to Bobby? What was their story? Why does she so implicitly trust him?
And talking about Bobby brings us to the positives about the movie.
- Vivek Oberoi puts in a riveting performance as the wily Bobby. And one of the facts enhancing this performance is the voice of Vineeth. It was a stroke of brilliance on the part of Prithiviraj the director to have the character voiced by Vineeth. Not only does the voice blend very well with the persona of the character, it also adds to the restrained villainy. And without a doubt Vineeth does a superb job. One feels a rush of pleasure on hearing the familiar rich voice.
- Though little more than a cameo Tovino Thomas impresses as Jathin Ramdas. His debut speech is a very well written scene. Even though we see him for a very short time he manages to convey that there is more to him than meets the eye – that though he seems a puppet he is not actually so and is biding his time.
- There are many interesting characters in the movie. Govardhan is one of them. But they are there for such a short time. One would have loved to know more about them. Perhaps Murali Gopy will explore some of them in his next movie. I would certainly like to know more about Aparna the girl who accuses Stephen of abusing her at the instance of her lover. Why does she obey him unquestioningly? And the journalist couple who run the television channel as well as the old lady at the orphanage and Stephen’s trusted ‘tribal’ right hand man. Each of them is a story waiting to be told.
- How can one not talk of Mohanlal! Though the trailer claims that the character has shades of grey it does not come through in the film. Mohanlal brings stature and a mature presence to the role of Stephen and though the character is a stoic we get to know of the suppressed anger and the undercurrent of revenge present through the body language and posture of the celebrated actor.
- And finally to the director himself. Prithviraj displays a surety of touch in the execution of the film that certainly does not betray the fact that he is a first timer. Though there is a profusion of slow motion shots (doubtless it is the fan boy who takes over in these instances) the first half is a terse fast-paced narrative. I’m certainly looking forward to watching his next film as director.
- Screenplay: Murali Gopy
- Direction: Prithviraj Sukumaran
- Producer: Antony Perumbavoor
- Production Company: Ashirvad Cinemas
- Music: Deepak Dev
- Cinematography: Sujith Vaassudev
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