Chirakkal Kelu Nayanar, a warrior in 16th century Kerala wants to avenge his father killed in a confrontation with Vasco da Gama and his troops and is assisted by his best friend Vavvali and warrior princess Ayesha.
A film like this from a veteran of Malayalam cinema is a shock and a shame. Thilakan once said of Mammootty that he is a "made" actor - and seeing this movie reminded me how astute his insight is. The movie is a blatant ego-massage - not unlike the dozens of films Mammootty and Mohanlal (and Suresh Gopi and Jayaram, in their own lesser ways) have done in the recent past. These films glorify savagery, a barbaric code of honour, violence, misogyny, and self-righteousness of the most hideous sort.
Mammootty plays the role of a feudal overlord with his own 'praja' - ironically enough, mostly ex-villains of 80s and 90s Malayalam cinema now turned lackeys of this great hero-superman - and as is usual in these loud, unbearably shrill movies, he hees and haws and hams until you can't stand his histrionics. His character plays every conceivable role Mammootty himself plays in real life - hero, lawyer, leader, vigilante, every self-proclaimed title rolled up into one. Except maybe romancing a girl old enough to be his daughter, which he does in the film with, I am happy to say, minimal commitment. My personal shock was at seeing Sreenivasan - that wonderful benediction to Malayalam cinema
play an illogical, utterly vacuous role, with neither significance
nor meaning. What kind of movie-making is this? Mammootty - are you accountable to your audiences at all? Are you the same man that makes "meaningful cinema"? The film is so insidiously subversive of every virtue civil society stands by - and the joke is that the land that Mammootty's character rules over is supposed to stand for a utopia whose example Kerala (and eventually India if only the rest of the sleeping states woke up) would do well to follow.
I am so shocked I decided to write a review! Thilakan, Nedumudi Venu, Siddiq and Seema are all wasted in this horrific film. Mammootty stands at the head of this shocker - a film written obviously to placate his admirers, and a film that begets and feeds the flames of his celebrity. What a wonderful actor he can be - if only he acted roles other than his self-image!
Avoid the film - at all costs. And pray, give Malayalam cinema another chance!
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