Director - M Padmakumar
Producer - KK Rajagopal
Cast - Mohanlal, Kalabhavan Mani, Sneha, Ananya, Kailash, Lalu Alex, Samuthirakkani, Mythili, Jagathy Sreekumar, Suraaj Venjarammoodu.
Music - M Jayachandran
Cinematography - Manoj Pillai
Editing - Ranjan Abraham
Art Direction - Manu Jagadh
Background Score - Ouseppachan
Stunts - Thiyagarajan
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues - S Suresh Babu
Release Date - 9th September 2010.
When I heard Mohanlal is coming together with M Padmakumar and Suresh Babu to make an action flick, I had speculations in my mind. Padmakumar is a director who showed some promise initially, but didnt quite take off even after doing a superstar film earlier and Suresh Babu was the writer of one of Mohanlal's worst films. But as days went by, this movie became more and more interesting and slowly it began creating positive vibes, not only in me, but in everyone else as well. The first poster of the movie with Mohanlal sporting a twirled moustache made sure that this film was going to open big, very big. One month before the release, Mohanlal tweeted saying the climax sequence of the movie was one of the most toughest sequences to shoot in his entire career and that it had come out brilliantly. So the anticipations levels went up even higher. And finally the movie has released today amidst much fanfare and yes, the team has a winner in their hands.
It is a known fact that no matter the number of hits or flops, the opening of a Mohanlal movie, especially a movie of him in a role like this, will be HUGE. And despite the fact that the Ramzan fasting period will be over only tomorrow and it was raining heavily in the morning, the crowd at Ernakulam Kavitha theater for the first show of the movie was unbelievable. The fans had ample moments to cheer and were surprisingly restrained throughout the serious portions of the movie.
Suresh Babu has written a neat screenplay which does not meander away from the main plot for most of the time, and Padmakumar has handled it deftly making the viewers engrossed in the film throughout its length. There are no punch dialogues, no projection of Mohanlal as a super-hero, nothing which is usually seen in Mohanlal's meesha-pirippan films, yet the film is a fairly engaging watch. Now, that requires some skill. And both the writer and the director need to be given credit for that. The first half of the movie introduces the characters and gives clues about the mysterious life of its protagonist. And the second half which is much stronger delves into Balaraman's past, gives us a great flashback and comes back to the present for a thrilling finale.
Mohanlal is in good form in the film. His role does not require an extraordinary performance, yet we see him putting in as much as he did for performance-oriented movies such as Bhramaram. There is both 'fire' and 'fear' in his eyes at the same time and that was something unique. There is something irresistible about him when he twirls his moustache or does a madakkikkuthu, that it is extremely hard not to clap or whistle at such shots. The director has used both the star and the actor in him in a good measure (especially in his introduction sequence) and makes Balaraman a character worth remembering. Ananya had already proved that she is a very good actress through Naadodikal and she maintains that with a good performance in this film as well. Kailash got a good role, but wasnt able to give a convincing performance. Sneha's role can be called a guest appearance and she is quite okay in it. I expected Kalabhavan Mani to do much more when he came along with Lalettan after a long time, but he didnt have that many scenes. Lalu Alex was good. Mythili, Jagathy Sreekumar and Suraaj Venjarammoodu were unwanted additions to the cast. Samuthirakkani is brilliant as the leader of the Telangana movement in his short, but powerful role. Lakshmi Gopalaswami is decent.
The movie tells its story well. But could have done away with a lot of things. Like the entire track of Mythili and Jagathy Sreekumar or the comic track of Suraaj Venjarammoodu. Neither did they do any good to the development of the plot, nor did they evoke any laughter. Those sequences looked forced into the movie and it would have been better if the director had done away with them. The flashback portion is handled brilliantly and is perhaps the strongest point of the film. The much hyped adventurous climax at the Guna Caves in Coimbatore could have been more thrilling and exciting. It is done well, but it doesnt create the required tension in you that you get really scared about what will happen to the characters. But the effort taken by the cast and crew in those portions is definitely seen and they have to be appreciated for that.
Music by M Jayachandran is very good. 'Enthedi' is a good melody with a fast rythm, picturised well on Mohanlal & Sneha. The item song 'Sembakame' with the other Lal was okay. 'Pinne Ennodonnum Parayathe' by KJ Yesudas is a great track which is in the league of 'Innale Ente' and 'Amma Mazhakkarinu'. 'Prathikathinsu', the revolutionary track by SPB is awe-inspiring. It would've sounded even better, if we could understand the Telugu lyrics.
Cinematography by Manoj Pillai was very good, but was spoilt with bad Digital Intermediate coloring. It looks as if the DI artists went overboard, especially in the night sequences and the climax portions and the end result on screen is not that great. Thiyagarajan master's stunts were raw and much more realistic than the kind of stunts we see in films today. Ranjan Abraham could have made the first half a little more tighter avoiding those unwanted comedy scenes. Manu Jagadh's art direction is good.
Shikkar is a movie which can equally satisfy Mohanlal's fans and the family audience. It is not a great cinematic experience, but it definitely is a very good movie, which you wont regret spending your money on. Easily one of the best movies that has come out this year so far. And the Malayali audience have been craving for a good movie for a long time since there have been no good releases for over a month now. So Shikkar looks like a perfect meal for them. Hoping Pranchiyettan and Elsamma (tomorrow's releases) also work bringing Housefull signs back in front of all the theaters in town.
Rating - 3.5/5