A Blog on Cinema

Review roundup: Pokkiri Raja


With a avalanche of multistarrers in the pipeline, the stars have realized that the strength is in numbers. Some would say collective wisdom, some would say mob psychology.  Pokkiri Raja would find success in Kerala as well as Tamilnadu. End of  good Malayalam cinema as we knew it is not far away.

Once upon a time, some Malayalis who think we make only superior movies in Kerala used to make fun of such movies from Tamil Nadu.  At present we are just cloning such movies and watching it en masse as well.  Now a multiple times national award winner and Kerala State award winner have joined the party.

Berly analyzes

Rainmaker reviews

+ves and -ves
The positives include a pretty fact screenplay. Slick presentation and some action scenes which are bound to go well with the masses. The -ves include completely clichéd story, over the top situations and hero worship that almost makes you throw up. Songs are ordinary. ‘Manikinavin’ is never shown while a Tamil style song is shown. Shreya is wasted in a role that could have been done by anyone.

In short, if you soon come to terms with the fact that ‘Pookriraja’ crosses the line and is probably the first mainstream Malayalam – Tamil Masala movie made on highest dose of hero worship and clichéd situations, then you may probably end up watching this movie as a one time, time-pass movie. If you are the creative and subtle types, then you are in for a rude shock.

Verdict – 2.5/5 and ‘Just Average’.

Pokkri Raja – Finally, Malayalam Cinema has now officially been ‘Paandified’ .


  1. Kashtam..prithviykkum, mammottikkum ee gathi vannallo!!!!

  2. Back in the 80s /90s you could have a movie with more than one star or good support cast of actors to a movie. After the 90’s alot of the piror supporting cast actors have become full fledged hereos /super stars themselves (Dileep, Kalabhavan Mani, Jayaram etc) so alot of the movies done after 90s had one focal actor burderned to carry movie / story and alot of weak minor support. So seems what would have normal movie casting prior to millenium is now all labeled as “multistarrers”.

  3. actually pokkiri raja is a no brain mass masala movie..we also need movies like these for the masses..

  4. Agree with nikhimenon. Do not understand why so much of tears being shed and wreaths laid on ‘Malayalam’ cinema. Cinema is a broad medium; perhaps like literature. You cannot expect all books to be ‘Oliver Twist’s. There will be Wuthering heights, there will be Mills and Boons, there will be Archies, there will be Superman, there will be ‘Divine Comedy’, there will be Animal Farm, Dracula, Dilbert, Atlas shrugged, and on and on. Tell me, what is the story behind ‘pappoos’ in poombatta or even bobanum moliyum..?

    There is something called as ‘genre’ and there are different forms of cinematic expressions. Naayakan oru idi koduthal villian parannu pokunnathu shoot cheyunna directorinu IQ zero aakanamenilla. They try to simulate your sense in different ways. Different genres are liked by different people. You may hate it, others may like it. Some genres win critics, some excite those who appreciate cinematic art, some excite the masses, some fail to excite any. One needs to be more sensible and sensitive to realize that.

    Unfortunately, we act as pseudo-intellectuals who believes we are the authority to define ‘good cinema’, ‘bad cinema’, ‘pandification’ based on what we individually feel in our narrow, rigid and prejudist brains.

  5. @Vinod,
    I was fortunate to watch Bharathan,Padmarajan, MT movies when they were released in theatres. I watched Sibi-Lohi classics in theatres at an impressionable age. This is a state where Chidambaram ran for 50 days in theaters. We had Nadodikkattu, Sanmanassu etc as comedy movies. All these movies defined my taste. In those times a movie like In Ghost house Inn or Pappy Appacha would be kicked out of theatres in a week’s time. Even then we had mindless craps as movies, but in comparison we seem to have proportionately less number of good movies now. I fear a collective dumbification of the populace now. We seem to be happy with so litle.

  6. Everyone wants movies like palerymanikyam, kazhcha etc. But when those movies are release no one watches those movies at theater and the movies are deemed to be flops. If some one makes makes business out of making mass masala movies, the we complain the movies does not have story, artistic touch etc, and do we need the producers to take soulful movies and bankrupt themselves.

  7. @ Vinod

    Agree with you on certain counts. Art maybe has genres. There is no absolute standard definition of good art, and each person is different, so appreciation is inevitably variable. There is no mathematical test to which a every piece of art can be subjected to such that a particular result would mean it is good art and an opposite result would mean it is bad art. Appreciation is all very, very subjective. One has to respect that.

    But does it mean everything is good by default, since there is no objective tool to measure what is good or what is bad? Marijuana is a drug since it has biological effects. Is it a good drug or a bad drug? Again subjective. To an addict who doesn’t bother about its ill effects on the body, or about a productive life, but is looking forward only to the kick it provides and to the moments with the friends, it certainly is a good drug. To someone who is better disciplined, and has other priorities in life, it is probably a bad drug. Two different opinions based on different circumstance. So, ‘who are we to decide’ whether the drug is good or bad?

    ‘Painkili ma weeklies’ were quite popular in Kerala till a few years back. If they can be categorised to a ‘genre’, it would be the ‘pleasing the average rural girl’ genre. If this girl is infused with some serious education, life experience, exposure to other creations and consequent skill to understand society and people, she would start preferring other genres. So are ‘painkili ma weeklies’ good because they can be ‘genre’ised and do attract some category of people? Is a painkili novelist on par with or possibly superior to examples like Saul Bellow or JM Coetzee, because he satisfies a certain category of people, probably better?

    A good education, the richness of life experience, exposure to great works, acquired skills etc. are important tools that would equip somebody in artistic appreciation. The changed girl would prefer other literary works and would pass over the painkili weeklies. But might still appreciate Bobanum Moliyum, Pappoos etc. because she would see the creativity, skill and integrity with which they are made, and would see that they are more than mere manipulative attempts to milk money. They wouldn’t pull her the same way they did in childhood, but she would be able to see the quality of the creation. So the serial cartoons you mention are quite on another level compared to ‘ma weeklies’ and films like pokkiri raja.

    I don’t think there is any point in generously accommodating everything into some genre or other for the sake of a claim that it can be called good for the genre. The only genre Pokkiri Raja belongs to is the ‘dustbin genre that can make money’. It may have its fans, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is good.

    Sorry if I sound a bit pedantic, but the response is in view of posts at a lot of sites that the film is good for ‘its category’.

  8. If we judge a movie just by its crew and the content, I think its like comparing paracetamol to a piece of chocolate.Sometimes when we need little joy, a paracetamol tab cant satisfy us. Anybody ready to eat health drinks instead of sweets when you celebrate your birthday?? No.. You’l go for chocolates..right. why? Coz you dont need all the vitals?? DO you play a very meaningfull gazal when you party?? Never.. Why? the same reason..

    We can’t expect every movie to be perfect in all ways or as we desire. A director can be smart enough to understand whether majority of his audience enjoys a chocolate or tabs.. But that does not means we cant go critic.We do. But before that ask yourself Why its necessary..

  9. Don’t waste your time for this movie….really

  10. Vinod,

    We dont need to act as pseudo intellectuals to say cinema is good, bad or plain ugly. We need to simply appreciate what unfolds on the screen before us. And most ordinary people with some common sense would be able to make out what is worth one’s time and what is not.

    You are talking about books catering to diverse tastes. Tastes I believe, differ from quality. Poompatta delivers the stuff when you take into consideration the age of its its target audience. So does Bobanum Moliyum.

    All your examples are landmarks in their respective genres, be it Dilbert or Dracula or even Mills& Boons. You are not talking of the lesser known, despicable stuff that belongs to each one of these genres, and that is what makes a difference.

    What I mean to say is that within each genre QUALITY differs.

    I have got nothing against mindless entertainment, provided it entertains. The very statement that is found in some reviews that exhorts you to leave your brains behind is an insult to the viewer. We need our brains for God’s sake, and why should we forsake them for these idiotic Alexanders and Rajas?

  11. Chocolate is always welcome, but trash labelled as chocolate? Perhaps fanaticism can help one enjoy the latter. And good movies are not some bitter pill enforced upon anybody. They are the best among chocolate.

    I don’t think there are separate categories like serious good movies and adipoli good movies. Good movies entertain, maybe at multiple levels, and they don’t demand you sacrifice your cognitive senses for that end.

    Agree very much with Vinu, but, as an aside, please don’t certify Mills and Boon as quality stuff in any genre.


  13. “Naayakan oru idi koduthal villian parannu pokunnathu shoot cheyunna directorinu IQ zero aakanamenilla. They try to simulate your sense in different ways.”

    Yeah, but there has to be a range of standard among commercial films as well. I haven’t seen PR so I can’t judge.

    But as an example lets take The Dark Knight and 10,000BC, both films from 2008 that I have seen. They are both commercial films meant to “entertain”. Yet both of them are certainly in different levels in terms of quality. And the people in the US agree to that if you check the domestic box-office.

    It has nothing to do with being pseudo-intellectuals.

  14. what a superb movie. prithviraj/ mammokka combination rocks. kudos to mulakupadom also. takes guts to take such a movie.

  15. crap like these should not be called CINEMA
    it should be called some “masalaShow with Mammotty and Prithviraj” . Hope they too enjoy the fact they are not acting in movies/cinema but just masala shows. Anyway what they want is money, so defenitely wont be worried about what it is called.

  16. How can someone call this an entertainer;in my opinion it purely misleads other readers.What is there in the film 3 songs around 5 fights ,some comedy accent by Mammooty(i thought that was the only relief),swaraj and salim kumar tries to tickle us through their age old methods;Prithviraj shows his charm and also his action skills.This looks like a dubbed version of telugu action movies.
    Making action,comedy,entertainers is not a crime;but there should be a minimum sincerity in making a film rather than adding some elements to attract audience;don’t be surprised if the makers come up with another film casting lal and prithvi just changing the name of the movie.The story of the film will remain the same for years(is there one?).
    The huge success of this film along with the failure of a good film like T D Dasan 6 b shows the degradation of standard of viewers including me (i take the blame since itoo watched this film in theater and regarding TD Dasan the theater owners also helped by throwing out the film in 3 days).

  17. Who told like this … we r located in Bangalore .. here all the show is going in houseful only … before entering the theater we expected that it will be a flop only but we surprised while seaing the croud. Its a good film now mammokka change his style a lot

  18. Pokkiri Raja — Entertainment, but in parts.

    I went for this movie with sky high expectation and to be frank, it didn’t raised up to my level of expectation. This movie created a huge amount of buzz and hype as it features Mammooty and upcoming star Prithviraj. Apart from bringing in a casting coup by uniting Megastar Mammootty and youth icon Prithviraj for the first time in full length roles, this movie by debutant director Vysakh has also taken pains to present Super actress Shriya Saran to Mollywood.

    Pokkiri raja is the story of two sons of a honest school teacher. Out of the two brothers, Raja runs away from home due to some circumstances which was a common feature of the Malayalam movie’s made in the 80’s. The movie has Mammootty as Raja and Prithvi as Soorya, both sons of popular Gandhian and idealistic teacher Madhavan Mash. The eldest son Raja was thrown out of the house by Madhavan Mash, as he was reluctant to stick to his father’s Gandhian ways. He ran away from home to Madurai after a scuffle and becomes the leader of a gang of ruffians in Madurai. Madhavan Mash has much hopes on his younger son Soorya, who was reared with care as to become a model for the youth of the town. But circumstances forced Soorya to just follow his elder brother’s path and to take arms and to become another notable name, booked by the police. Shriya plays Aswathy, the daughter of the city police commissioner who falls in love with Soorya. Then finally the two brothers meet face to face and the rest of the movie shows their tale.

    The highlight of the movie is the glossy looks and colorfulness with which it is presented. With many song and dance sequences and funny moments, the movie will not give you much time to ponder over logic, atleast when in the cinema halls. Its high time that Mammootty should realize that he is NOT good in dance and he should stick on to what he does best.The song ‘Kettille Kettille’ and other so called ‘Rap’ song must have been picturised better. Remember the Rajamanicyam song.. “Pandi melam pattum koothum…”. In that song Mammooty sir’s screen presence is utilized to the maximum without the inclusion of dance steps. That’s what a good director does. Even Manirathnam sir made Mammooty dance in Thalapathy, but he varied the camera movements and was a bit slower which made that song exceptional.But these kind of dance steps reminds me of Love in Singapore and mayabazaar which must have been avoided.

    Coming to the technical aspects of the movie. The technical side of the movie is good, with every department doing their best to maintain the quality of a potential hit. Shaji’s camera, and Mahesh Narayanans editing are brilliant even though the makers has failed to keep the interest going for the entire length of two hours. Jassie Gift’s songs have good beats but won’t stay in our minds for long. The BGM for Mammootty was quite good. Prithviraj was good and completely outperformed Mammooty in fight sequences. Mammootty’s screen presence is utilized to the maximum and he was looking awesome. The story of the film is just a combination of films like July 4, Chattambinaadu and some other malayalam films. The director did a mediocre job. Songs and Dance was not impressive for me. Climax was disappointing. This film is a usual masala entertainer which fans of both actors can celebrate and boast about and may turn out to be a hit.

    If you are a die hard fan of Mammootty or Prithviraj, you will surely love this movie, as it offers everything for the fans to cherish. And for others its just another mass masala movie which seems like a combination of Tamil and Telugu films and is another chance for reminiscence. Unlike other Siby- Udayan films, this film doesn’t end up as a torture as it offers something for the fans atleast.

    My Verdict : 5.5/10

  19. @vishakh

    ill never agree with you becuse this movie has shown the good relation between 2 brothers and also showing the relation of love this movie also became a hit and unlike some people like you they only go for the classy ones
    this movie also made prithvi and mamooa even more popular this shows that you dont like the positive side of mallu cinemas

  20. @Pranav i don’t have anything against entertainers;and neither do i expect all movies to be citizen kanes or casablancas;but i still don’t understand calling this movie an entertainer like any other person i too was curious about the casting of the film and see how the story would unfold combining the 2 starts but this clearly is a stage shows like some reviews had suggested with the first half given to Prithvi and second half to Mammootty;Prithviraj becomes a dumb spectator after Mammootty makes entry; is there a single good enough comedy scene in the films which you call an entertainer(the only saving grace was the funny accent and english dialogues by Mamootty).I am not even comparing it with past malayalam classic comedies like Godfather or Nadodikkaattu;but even when you compare it with a Rajamanikyam or some other decent enough comedies or a Prithviraj hit like Puthiya Mukham we can easily find that this is a total crap.I also don’t understand what positive side of malayalam film is shown in this film as you have said.

  21. Mr. Sreekumar are u a fool, after watching this film how can you speak like this. Can you tell any good scene in this film. This film is only for fans, they are the people those who found in front of theater. So don’t overestimate the film

  22. mammukka’s films r pakka fan oriented nowadays n commercial subjects. c tis. al his films, the story goes lik
    1. flash back, he wil b a kid. wil hav to leav tat place 4 some bledy reason
    2. wil come after long time 4 revenge n comedy
    3. salim and suraj 2 accompany his blunders
    4. n a disastrous dance too.. 😀
    not jokin guys.
    5. new slangs wil b introduced.
    6. variety goggles n cars.
    tis s story f raajamanikkam, chattambinadu, pokkiriraja, annan thambi, etc etc

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