A Blog on Cinema

Review Roundup: Baba Kalyani


Baba Kalyani draws mixed reviews, opinions range from terrible to satifying. Reviews give low marks to S N Swami’s lacklustre screenplay. It has to be seen if Mohanlal’sbad luck with Police Costumes will end with this movie.

Sify writes

Despite all that pre-release positive hype and hoopla, Mohanlal’s Baba Kalyani leaves you cold. There is not a shred of originality in S.N.Swamy’s script and Shaji Kailas’ direction is nothing to rave about.

Swamy has ripped off Major Ravi’s Keerthichakra (which is still running in theatres!) and Mohanlal character is nothing but Major Mahadevan turned into Baba Kalyani! Instead of Kashmir milieu we have Kochi as backdrop. The climaxes in both the films are similar and Swamy has added dashes of Oru CBI Dairy Kurippu series!

However what saves the film from being a total disaster is Mohanlal. The actor steers this uneven film somehow to the winning post. He is cool as he effortlessly changes from casual to seriousness and does his role with consummate ease. Watch him snort as part of his character’s mannerism.

Unni Nair writes

Mohanlal has played the part of Baba Kalyani with ease. His performance as the very controlled and cool-headed cop is excellent. The English dialogues that the writer S.N. Swamy thrusts into his mouth could however, have been avoided since they sound unnatural and don’t really seem to suit Mohanlal. Biju Menon as Baba’s aide Thomas, Jagathy Sreekumar as Sub Inspector Ramanan, Indrajith as Zahir Ahmed alias Babu, Saikumar as Iza Muhammed Haji, Kaviyoor Ponnamma as Meenakshi Amma, and Maya Moushumi as Thomas’ wife Ammini do justice to their respective roles. Murali as Arackal Ashokan has nothing much to do. It’s the same with Siddique, as Tamil Nadu DIG Reghupathi. Mamta as Madhumita doesn’t impress much.

India Glitz writes

In Kerala, a film released in 60 centers is certainly a big affair. And so is Baba Kalyani. After a sequel of common man’s silent life in many of his previous endeavors, Mohanlal is back with a thrilling entertainer. The new aura of ‘Baba Kalyani’ is quite satisfying, not only for the fans, but also the general masses.

A deliberate attempt to inject the family theme into the thread however seems to be redundant. Not so excellent, still flawless script by S.N. Swamy lays a solid foundation and Shaji Kailaas-Mohanlal team is yet again in the way of creating a hit.


  1. Let us face the fact…. After all the expectations and pre realease hype, “Baba kalyani” is an extremelly boring movie…
    MohanLal-Shaji Kailas-S N Swamy, promising trio let down our expectations.

    Dear Shaji Kailas,

    Please understand that your gimmicks won’t help the movie and you need to have a strong story/an innovative theme to produce a good movie.Please direct only those movies where you have something to tell to the audiences, otherwise the likes of ChintaMani Kolacase, Don and now Baba Kalyani , will show you the way out.
    Also, please try to tell the story in a more natural way, use a fixed/steady camera for telling the story………..We are fed up with your unconventional camera angles and the slow motion ‘out of the blue’ sequences to present your heros.

    The screen play of S N Swamy is pathetic, to say the least. Not even a single scene or dialogue is innovative in nature. Predictable story line, hang over of Keerthichakra, a forgettable heroine (it is still a wonder why our film makers are under the impression that our movies need to have a heroine badly), cliched scenes, a mother-krishnabhakthi ganam (what else to say about ther charaterization of Kaviyoor Ponnama- and the song came in the already boring second half)- So a total boring effort from S N Swamy. He once again proved , without Sethu Ramayyar and his mannerisms, it is difficult to write a good story.So another wasted effort Swamy, last one being , Tharam Vs Balaram

    Mohanlal– not a great effort from him. Another cop role, another average performance –need to wait more to see an exceptional cop role from Mohanlal. MOvie more similar to many forgettable lal roles, likes of Shradda, Praja, Onnaman etc.

    Try to avoid it, unless you are a die hard Lal fan

  2. Sachin – wrt your comments – “Let us face the fact…. After all the expectations and pre realease hype, “Baba kalyani” is an extremelly boring movie…’

    At least a lot of people in this forum, did not have any expectations . Look at

    I wil also put what I wrote there

    Mohanlal in a police role = not a hit
    Add shaji kailas = flop
    add mamta with clothes = sure fire flop

  3. Please do not become a critic for the sake of it. Need to encourage people who really come forward for making awsome entertainers like this. A real good movie to watch for a festive mood.

  4. Happy to see India Glitz and Unni Nair has given very good reviews about the movie.

    “lack of originality” is not something we are not used to (especially from Shaji). Question is “Is the movie entertaining?”. And from the comments it seems except for “family audience specific” scenes it was (Thank God only one song sequence). Even KeerthiChakra had some unwanted family scenes but that only gave us time to relax and prepare for what came after.

  5. I went thru some of the web forums after BK got released. It generated such a huge hype and for a comparison went thru some similar forums of Tamil and Telugu movies. It really surprised me. No hype or abusing each other and not having thousands of posts barring 3-4 comments, even if the star is Vikram or Ajith or Vijay. This is happening only in Malayalam, where the 90% movie goers are only fans.
    Here, mammo and lal fans try to outsmart each other’s loyalty by creating hundreds of posts sitting thru the entire day & night and make the theater a fish market. After a week or so the movie halls will be half empty, since the general public already stopped visiting, if the movies is not of something special for them like Rasathandram, Rajamani, Classmates etc. Lal and Mammo fans see their movies which resulting them to collect some part even if it is a flop or average.
    This is the reason for 90% of the movies in Malayalam come under huge flops and rest Super hits. Nothing in between. Earlier 50% of the movies used to fall under average and above, irrespetive of stars. Now that situation is completely worn out in Kerala. This trend is really surprising and quite dangerous. Why the AMMA or other guys are not thinking over it. The print media also support this trend, by downriding movies of other stars, or mentioning little about it, means only fans buy their product.
    I think instead of the usual harakiri over the new releases media should discuss this hot issue for the betterment of the Industry.

  6. @Raphel: Not strictly true; check out the forums about Chandramukhi and Mumbai Express, for instance. Emotions were flying pretty high at the time. Mabbe Vijay & Ajith don’t matter as much 😉 !!

    As for our movies being either superhits or big flops, I see nothing wrong in it. If Malayalam movies have nothing novel (story, screenplay, treatment, structure) to offer, they deserve to flop – and badly. A good performance alone cannot salvage an average movie – not today, anyway, we’ve been far too spoilt by the 80s and 90s. I can think of a number of hit-movies that deserved to flop too.

  7. please dont approve spoilers like Arun nair has posted. i wanted to see bk, now i think my interest halfed.

  8. Rapahel – You say that in tamil movies this and that and tamil fans and stars are understanding and all.

    I saw Chandramukhi in a theatre in Chennai and I was amused when lot of Tamilians sitting near me threw slippers at Nayantara on the screen and were using the choicest of abuses for her in a scene where she mocks Rajni’s knowledge of music. [that scene incidentally is a staraight lift from Aaram Thampuran]

    What i wanted to point out is that, even in Tamil, fans can be very unruly and downright imbecile. If in any movie, somebody said something derogatory about Rajni, the fans woulndt even hesitate to burn down the theatres.
    This is state where a big fuss was made when Khushboo made some remarks on the moralities these days.

    I just used this example to prove that our malayalam fans are not as churlish as their neighbours, who seem to have only virtues going by your posts. The average malayalam fan will never burn down theatres or throw slippers if some actor makes fun of another actor in a movie or even in a public appearance

  9. Hi Sachin,
    Anyway I’m not planning to see the movie. Why should I waste my vacation by seeing such a film.
    I would love to know one thing : Does Shaji Kailas using same mantra’s in this movie also.
    Actually I really fed up with those background mantras after seeing Chintamani..

  10. Malayalam movie fans can also be unruly and imbecile

    “In Kozhikode, Apsara the fans themselves started hooting after interval.

    At Trichur Jose theatres fans smashed the chairs while at Palakkad Priyadarsini, fans were standing in front of the theaters requesting public not to waste their money! I”

    When you say “The average malayalam fan will never burn down theatres or throw slippers if some actor makes fun of another actor in a movie or even in a public appearance”, you should ask Prithviraj about this. He might disagree.

  11. Jibs – Whatever you mentioned is not because
    some character in Photographer made any derogatory remark of Mohan Lal. The malayali audience didnt get what they expected. So they resorted to such acts. How many such acts can you find out in recent times?

    Now if you are watching a movie in a theatre in a kerala and the power goes off for a brief period a large section of our crowd shout the worst abuses. THAT situation happens everywhere in India. I have watched movies in a lot of cities in India and I have experienced it.

    However, which theatre showing a Prithviraj movie was burnt or which movie of his had people throwing slippers at him? Or did somebody burn his effigy for his comments against the superstars ? Prithviraj rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and hes getting mucked about for that.

    I still maintain that our malayali audience are more intelligent and less emotional than their Tamil counterparts. Sure they also do some acts in the heat of the moment – but never to any extreme degree.

    PS: One thing which I find very strange in this forum is that everything ends up in Prithviraj. Amusing to say the least 🙂

  12. Unni, that’s quite true (about all roads leading to the same path!). An outsider reading the forum wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that Prithvi is this unlucky, unjustly-maligned actor, a martyr of sorts – which is hardly the case.

    Perhaps Prithvi hasn’t received the success that his talent deserves, but he hasn’t exactly produced evergreen classics yet. He’s merely an upcoming actor who holds a lot of promise. A decided lack of humility plus some pathetic choices alienated a large section of the audience. But as Classmates shows, he’s slowly fighting his way back. His last few movies have been pretty consistent in their quality (irrespective of their fate at the BO), and he’s slowly building a fan-base. Give him time to grow !!

  13. Ranjith – Prithvi is a fine actor no doubt. Somehow his movies except Classmates – Vargam/Vasthavam/Oruvan etc are not hits.
    If you go by the allegations on this board, its because of the goons of the superstars and Dileep who are behind the failures of his movies – which I feel is true only to an extent.

    As of today, he’s yet to deliver a hit of his own. Time will tell whether he will survive

  14. Ranjit,the self serving groups like AMMA and MACTA has ensured that Prithvi won’t get roles in a Alist director or screen play writers.

  15. karthik – Re: your comments “the self serving groups like AMMA and MACTA has ensured that Prithvi won’t get roles in a Alist director or screen play writers. ” – if what you told is true, superstar movies with A list directors would have been hits – this is not the case – mohan lal has had hits with new comers like blessy and roshan andrews. he has had flops with A list directors like Joshiey, Fazil and sibi Malayil. Ditto for Mammotty also who had a hit with Blessy and a flop with IV Sasi recently.

    Ultimately it is the people who decide whether a movie becomes a hit or not. Only upto a point, can AMMA/MACTA or hired goons prevent an actor’s growth. His popularity is judged by the hits he gives.

  16. Who said all superstar movies with A list directors are hits? That was not the point. It is about chances and opportunities to work with the best in the field.

  17. Just wanted to point out that Malayalees can be unruly. Agreed the causes are different, but behavior wise it is all the same.

    As you said “Prithviraj rubbed people the wrong way and he is paying for it”. So when it comes to tolerance Malayalees are bad. Didn’t Vinayan get lot of flak for doing some parody of the superstars. Didn’t the fans go beserk over it? So what tolerance are we talking about here.

    I don’t think Malayali audience is more intelligent or less emotional than anyone. Just recent times porn stars were ruling the screens. I guess the intelligent people were not thinking at that time. So called Malayali intelligence is a myth propagated by Malayalees themselves. I would like to believe that everyone has their positives and negatives and at the end it all balances out.

    PS: One thing I always find strange in this forum is that you mention the word Prithviraj and all Mohanlal fans (not Mammotty, Suresh Gopi or Dileep fans) get upset. Very amusing.

  18. “Just recent times porn stars were ruling the screens. I guess the intelligent people were not thinking at that time. So called Malayali intelligence is a myth propagated by Malayalees themselves. I would like to believe that everyone has their positives and negatives and at the end it all balances out.”

    Well in that case, americans and europeans are the least intelligent people in the world as per your logic since maximum porn cames from there!!!

    As for malayali intelligence, its been acknowledged by all language fans, that malayalam
    movies are of a higher standard than other languages. Ask a tamilian or a telugu , he will say that. One Kinnarathumbikal dont constitute malayalam films. We also have Kazcha, Thanmathra amongst others.

    I am not just a fan of Mohan Lal. I appreciate good cinema from all actors in Malayalam. The only thing I mentioned and I still repeat is that Prithviraj’s success only time can tell.
    Also FYI, a few weeks back I had written a profile on prithviraj on this forum. So your views on bias is misplaced.

    And there is no need for me to get upset for any reason 🙂

  19. @Kartik: ‘its abt the chance to work with the best in the field..’ don’t you detect a paradox here?

    On one hand, we know that the veterans haven’t exactly been at their best over the last 5 years or so. They have repeatedly resorted to cliched and mostly boring cinema (irrespective of BO success) – just look at the last few movies of Joshi, Hariharan, Priyadarsan, Shaji etc and you will know what I mean. The only exceptions seem to be Kamal and Jayaraj, who have shown no particular aversion to Prithvi. Blessy too, but Prithvi could hardly have delivered like Mohanlal did in Thanmatra. So, I don’t agree that they are the ‘best in the field’ – they haven’t been for quite some time now.

    On the other hand, you claim Prithvi is being discriminated against by these very ‘veterans’. Don’t you think Prithvi is better off sticking with the young guns – Lal Jose, Padmakumar etc? At least, he has the opportunity to be a part of some new and invigorating cinema – if these directors deliver over the long run, that is.

  20. Every discussion end up with Prithvi and comments like he will hardly be delivered like Tanmatra’s Lal charactor is insane. He is 24 or so and cannot act as father to 17 year old, and that role is made for that. Then again lal could not have done that type (if you means that)when he was 25 or so. Lets allow them to learn but give them chance than keeping away from their movies. Classmates did not change the system, but the bank balance of Lal and the producers and improved the market value of Lal Jose.
    Public still not watching movies barring some fans. Palunku opened with 30 Collection and Babakalyani runs with 50 or so after a week. See the situation. Note Book also draws only 50% collection, and may end up poorer due to the hypocratic nature of Malayalees, where they do everything in the night but do not like to see or talk or expect from their Children, which is the story of NoteBook.
    Why ? Mostly every body fed up with the present system and stopped watching since they got better options in front of TV. We sit here critizising Youngsters and the senior Directors run after Super Stars, where they also produce regular flops. Where we are going. See the The recent hits of Tamil Bharat’s Veyil and Dhanush’s Thiruvilayadal Arambam. This will never happen in our Malluwood, which is on its way out of oblivion.

  21. Ranjith,

    “but Prithvi could hardly have delivered like Mohanlal did in Thanmatra”

    How do you know? See this is pure speculation. You can turn the table around and say, Mohanlal could not have delievered Classmates. So this kind of convoluted argument compltely based on speculation is good for fan sites and not for a site like vc where the quality of discussion is much higher.

    I don’t think it is a either or situation as you say. It is not a paradox. He has to work with everyone possible so that he can become better and better.

  22. I asked a Tamilian and Telugu and they said that they don’t know about Kazcha and Thanmatra. They know about Shakeela though. So please don’t generalize based on anecdotal evidence. You said something you want to believe that is all.

    I read your article on Prithvi. It is just a collection of published facts and gossip. Not much original thought in that.

  23. @Jibs, @Raphel:
    My statement that Prithvi could hardly have delivered as Lal did in Thanmatra was ‘coz:
    a. As Raphel said, its an aged role, and yes, Lal could not have carried off the Classmates role today.
    b. But more importantly, Lal essayed that role so brilliantly (in fact, its one of his best performances to date) that its impossible to think of any other actor in that role. And that’s be the case of many another brilliant film or actor too.

    Like it or not, Prithvi at this stage has no hopes of usurping the actor Lal – you’re talking of somebody who’s been delivering great performances over 15 years, and is still capable of belting out, as Thanmatra shows. Now the star Mohanlal is another animal altogether, pretty much at his weakest moments now.

    Neither of you have answered by other question. On the one hand, you (Raphel) claim that ‘established’ directors / screenplay writers produce mostly hacneyed movies with superstars. Then where is Prithvi’s advantage in working with them – isn’t he better off working with the nwbies and climbing up the ladder?

    As for Veyyil being a success, it deserved to be. Its an awesome movie, especially so coming from a newcomer. And Pasupathy is the rightful hero, not Bharath.

  24. Saw Baba Kalyani, like what the reviews say there is not much of story. Story is predictable (but believable). Feels like one of the 1000s of Hollywood cop movies.

    While story took a back seat technically it is very well made. Shaji Kailas and Don Max have done a good job. And Mohanlal’s charisma has been used to the most (at that saves the movie). This movie has lot to offer for Mohanlal the Superstar but little for the actor in him. The movie is entertaining if you like sleak action movies.

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