The subject of Shaji Kailas’s movies always have contemporary socio-political issues in the background. There will be a group of corrupt and greedy politicians, bureaucrats and police officers who form the caucus of villains, after a series of setbacks, the hero would finally break free with the blessings of a benevolent politician, usually the Chief minister, and vanquish all the baddies. Fast editing, agile camera work and quick pace are the trademarks of Shaji Kailas movies. Baba Kalyani is no different from Shaji’s usual movies, except for 2 crucial differences. One Mohanlal replaces Suresh Gopi and two the theme deals with Islamic terrorism.
The ATU (Anti-Terrorism Unit) headed by Baba Kalyani (Mohanlal) gets into action, when they investigate an email tip about a VVIP assassination plot in Trivandrum. This gives us a chance to see the members of the team in action, all decked in gadgets, with belts like that of Bob the Builder which has a flash light and conducting investigations in day time. Baba Kalyani updates his boss every second on the status (I am walking, I am talking) on his blue tooth headset in a highly irritating way. While following the assassination plot, they discover some RDX, ammonium nitrate and fuel oil in a dilapidated lodge. Learning that the people who had stayed in the lodge had gone to Kochi, Baba Kalyani makes a statement that Kochi is getting hot. He also makes a claim that terrorists would create trouble on Dec 6th, just by staring at a calendar.
Since the movie is written by S N Swami we did not expect a brilliant script, but he slowly started testing our patience. Baba Kalyani and team transfer to Kochi and start investigating the prominent figures. We would have given another 30 mins and the movie could have ended. Swami had other ideas. He wanted to give a useless role to National Award Winning actor Murali.
Murali makes an appearance as Arackal Asokan, a politician who has some history with Baba Kalyani. There’s nothing special about the way Murali acted in this minuscule role, nor was the role special enough to warrant an actor like Murali. Baba Kalyani was in love with his daughter Madhumita (Mamta Mohandas) and their relation fell apart over a misunderstanding. But then hey, they patch up everything and who would have guessed that?
Large scale proliferation of fake currency notes points fingers to Iza Mohammed Haji (Sai Kumar). Zahir Ahmed(Indrajith) is Haji’s son-in-law who is a college lecturer. Haji runs some charitable organisations, which the investigating officers think is a front for his illegal activities. Since Sai Kumar is Malayalam’s Uber villain, the viewer is left in no doubt that Haji is behind the terrorist plot. As the plot unravels, it becomes clear that the Haji is just a decoy. All this means only one thing. More time has to be wasted in an irrelevant sub-plot.
Baba Kalyani looking for a house to stay in Kochi ends up in Meenakshi Amma’s(Kaviyoor Ponnamma) house. Meenakshi Amma reminds Baba Kalyani of his mother and biggest marketing gimmick of recent times ensues – the song Kai Niraye. Meenakshi Amma has no relevance to the story or the movie and actually affects the pace of the movie.
As the magic date December 6 nears, the investigating team gets a vital breakthrough and scene shifts to Palani. Without getting into details and revealing the climax, the ‘complicated tactical approach’ promised by Mohanlal turns out to be coming down from the roof hanging on ropes wearing Spiderman 3 getups. Everyone shoots everyone else and all ends peacefully.
The movie had enough material about 45 minutes, but writer S N Swami decided to make it an aviyal by adding various unrelated incidents. As Shah Rukh Khan mentioned, our movies have to be a variety show and the hero must display all emotions in all movies. The slick editing and fast pace tries to conceal the lack of logic in the script, but then too leniency in that department finally catches up. At the end you end up wondering, if the plan was to bomb Palani, then what were the Kochi based terrorists doing in Trivandrum?
Mohanlal is one of the saving graces of the movie. He portrays the role of intelligent police officer with ease. Mamta and blue tooth headset vie for viewers attention and headset wins, by the virtue of Mohanlal’s attention to it. Jagathi, SaiKumar and Indrajith did decent jobs. Innocent appears in a minuscule role, so does Siddique with a lean look and a new wig.
Remember the time when Doordarshan used to cover cricket matches with one camera? When the batsmen hit the ball, the cameraman would scan the field looking for the ball like as if it were held by a drunken monkey. The camera movement is similar in this movie. We would have complained more about the camera man, if not for the background score by Rajamani.
It is as if Shaji Kailas told Rajamani that there should not even be a single moment of silence in the movie. Due to this his background score is played constantly, like a lottery ticket sellers tape, for every action Mohanlal makes on the screen. When his jeep comes in the horizon, the BG score starts, when he steps out of the jeep, it plays again, when he sneezes, it plays again. Some one has to tie Rajamani on a chair, play this music for 24 hours, like what the US Marines did to Manuel Noriega and make him feel how irritating it is.
Shaji Kailas movies are indistinguishable from each other from their presentation style or narration and this one too looks like yet another Suresh Gopi movie. We wish experienced directors like him pay more attention to the script, fix the loop holes and make it tight without adding unrelated events and characters.
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