Movie - Christian Brothers (Malayalam)
Director - Joshiy
Cast - Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi, Dileep, Sarathkumar, Biju Menon, Saikumar, Vijayaraghavan, Devan, Suresh Krishna, Kavya Madhavan, Kanihaa, Lakshmi Gopalaswami, Lakshmi Rai, Suraaj Venjarammoodu, Harisree Ashokan, Salimkumar, Jagathy Sreekumar, Anand, Kaviyoor Ponnamma & Jayan
Cinematography - Anil Nair
Music - Deepak Dev
Editing - Ranjan Abraham
Background Score - Rajamani
Stunts - Anal Arasu, Mafia Sasi
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues - Udayakrishna - Sibi K Thomas
Release Date - 18th March 2011
Joshiy and Udayakrishna - Sibi K Thomas joined hands the last time to create the biggest blockbuster in Malayalam Cinema - Twenty 20, a multistarrer which starred almost every actor in the Malayalam industry. Christian Brothers is also a movie mounted on that scale, starring Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi, Dileep and Tamil star Sarathkumar. The movie which was announced in 2009, took more than a year to get completed and has released in 240 screens all over India thereby ending the dull phase Malayalam Cinema has been going through for the past 5-6 weeks. If the reports are to be believed, the movie has taken a thunderous opening and has all the chances of breaking the opening day collections of Twenty 20, Pokkiri Raja and Pazhassiraja, three of the biggest openers in recent times. Joshiy has always been a master at making thoroughly entertaining multistarrers using each star to the best of their potentials, and he continues to do that in Christian Brothers as well.
The story is almost the same as in all Udayakrishna - Sibi K Thomas movies, minus the Pollachi backdrop and toilet humour. A son who has to leave his house because of a misunderstanding his upright father has about him comes back to the same place on another mission. This time its Mohanlal playing Christi, the son who is a high profile Police informer in Mumbai. His brother Joji (Dileep) is also almost an outcast from the house since he decided to give up his life as a priest and romance a Hindu girl, Meenakshi (Kavya Madhavan), who happens to be the Home Minister (Devan)'s daughter. Meenakshi is kidnapped on her return from London and Christi lands in Cochin to nab the culprits, on special request from the Home minister. He's constantly at loggerheads with the Police Commissioner Hariharan Thampi (Biju Menon), whose family already has a problem with Christi's idealistic father (Saikumar). Thampi engages a certain Mathayi (Suresh Gopi) to attack Christi and later an underworld don Andrews (Sarathkumar) also joins the plot, which proceeds forward with many twists and turns from here.
Mohanlal has clearly pwned the movie!! His fans can rejoice as their favourite hero is back in mass hero avatar after a really really long time and its such a pleasure to watch him playing to the galleries in the most natural manner possible. He has made optimum use of his dialogue delivery and gives much more 'punch' to the punch dialogues. And his irresistible charm and smile has worked wonders in so many scenes in the movie. In addition to that, Mohanlal looks his best in this movie, compared to all his recent movies. He deserved a much better intro though. Fans will go crazy over their Lalettan's antics in the movie. Suresh Gopi is right behind him in a role which he was born to play - that of an IPS officer. He gets to shine in a role tailor made for him, after the awesome work he did in Twenty 20. He is pitted against Mohanlal for a lot of crackling scenes which are thrilling to watch and also has some comic moments with Dileep in the second half. Dileep's role is much lesser compared to the other two superstars and after his intial song and dance, he comes much later into the movie with some comic sequences and does a good job at that. Sarathkumar's role is more like a cameo with him making an appearance in two important scenes alone. He has dubbed for himself in Malayalam, which is a good thing. And he makes an awesome impression in the very little screen time that he has. Suresh Krishna goes through the same trecherous villain act yet again. Biju Menon is good as the Commissioner even though he's playing a different variation of the same role for the umpteenth time. Jagathy Sreekumar was effective in a very brief, serious role. Saikumar does his part well as expected. But the camaraderie that he and Mohanlal shared as father and son in Chotta Mumbai is missing here, maybe because this one's plot is very different from that. Vijayaraghavan and Devan play their routine parts. Surprised that Siddique was not a part of the movie. Suraaj Venjarammoodu managed to be decent in the recent movie Make-Up Man, but in this one, he's plain pathetic. It looks like he was added just for the sake of having him in the cast. Just ignore him as Mohanlal does in the movie. The ladies have nothing much to do in the film. Kavya Madhavan looks so overweight in those ugly costumes she wears during the duet in London and she doesnt have anything else to do after that other than crying and acting scared. Kanihaa gets the better role among the ladies and she does a good job. Lakshmi Gopalaswami is okay. Lakshmi Rai appears in two songs and we have no idea what happens to her character even at the end of the movie.
The movie has been written in the most predictable fashion and one who seen a good number of films in this genre can easily predict almost all the twists in the movie. But in spite of that, if the movie holds your attention, it is all because of Joshiy's deft direction and handling of the movie. Udayakrishna & Sibi K Thomas wouldnt have had to work much on their screenplay, but they've worked well to construct scenes where the stars are pitted against each other. Since they've made that their forte, they've done a good job at that yet again. They've recognized the plus points of each star and given scenes to them accordingly, which is a good thing. There are ample family sentiments, which actually dont do much harm. And the best part is that they've avoided the Tamil - Pollachi angle completely as well as the lewd humour which is mandatory in almost all their films. (Suraaj's scenes are an exception. Just ignore). Talking of the negatives, the film is a little too long. The stretched flashback sequences, songs and stuff could have been avoided. And the absence of a strong villain is also another drawback. If one of the stars could have been a full on villain, the movie's impact would've been something else. The climax seems a little rushed and could have been done in a much better way giving equal importance to all four of them. Their punch dialogues for Mohanlal and Suresh Gopi are excellent. Suresh Gopi gets to make a dig at another popular investigating officer and Mohanlal takes a dig at a certain old man as well, all in good humour. Also, watch out for the scene between Mohanlal and Suresh Gopi in the police station. Joshiy has always extracted good work from the very mediocre writers Udayakrishna & Sibi K Thomas and almost all their decent/good flicks have been in Joshiy's direction. This movie is no different and all the flaws mentioned above dont matter at the end of the day.
The songs are decent, but placed very badly in the film. 'Moham Kondaal' (with some very funny lyrics) is actually the only song which was needed. 'Karthaave' is the same Dileep-Kavya-Foreign Location song which we've seen so many times, shot like 'Kavilinayil Kungumamo' this time around. Plus, Kavya looks terribly fat in that song, the low angle shots doing more damage to her figure on screen. 'Kannum Kannum', which sounds very similar to 'Teri Ore' pops out of nowhere and has Mohanlal and Lakshmi Rai in an embarrassingly bad music video. Background Score by veteran Rajamani is decent, but could have been better. Anil Nair has lit up the movie like its some Ekta Kapoor soap. Every pixel on the screen is lit up, just like he did in Happy Husbands and other movies. Boss, movies become visually interesting when you play with lights and shades, not by lighting everything up. Stunts are quite good. Editor Ranjan Abraham could have applied his scissors a little more in the second half.
Summing up, Christian Brothers is a high voltage multistarrer which is meant to be enjoyed with a housefull crowd consisting of fans of all the actors present in the movie. Mohanlal gets 3 times more screen time than what he got as an action hero in Twenty 20 and he is a delight to watch on screen. Fans would have a completely satisfying experience watching their favourite superstar beating up goons and delivering punchlines with so much gusto. Suresh Gopi, Dileep and Sarathkumar do what they are best at and with Joshiy's able direction also coming into the picture, you get a paisa vasool commercial entertainer. The film is only about star power and that is the exact reason why you would have fun watching this movie. The wide release all over the world is a great trend to earn some quick bucks from the untapped overseas market for Malayalam films. Lets hope this one and the upcoming multistarrers bring in a lot of big bucks for the deteriorating Malayalam Film Industry.
P.S. - The fanboy in me was regretting the fact that I was away from Kerala for the first day first show of Mohanlal movie probably after 5 years. And exactly then, the movie turned out to be a celebration for all Mohanlal fans.
Bottomline - Go watch at a housefull theatre!! Mohanlal alone is worth the money spent!!