The concept of a benevolent dictator fails to gel with the real-life situation in rural Kerala

PrajapathiThe screen presence of actors like Mohanlal (in `Vadakkumnathan') or Mammootty (in `Hitler'), hard-hitting dialogues such as those delivered by Mammootty in `The King' and the sheer quality of stories like that of `Sallapam' or `Achuvinte Amma' are the three ways in which a film can make an impact.

`Prajapathi' falls in none of these categories. The film will leave viewers wondering why Mammootty took up the project at all.

As a child, Narayana (Mammootty) is traumatised by domestic violence. His villainous father, Kunjambu Nair (Nedumudi Venu), harasses his mother, and once even kicks his pregnant wife in the stomach. In time, Narayana overcomes his trauma, and turns into `Mentor Emeritus' of the village.

But his father and stepbrother, Giri (Siddique), refuse to be swayed and try to kill him over a land dispute. Prajapathi survives the attack. Meanwhile, Giri murders his father. Aali Raghavan (Sreenivasan) makes an appearance late in the film as Prajapathi's stepbrother. In the end, both of them take revenge.

The story is snail-paced and the director had to create another character (Sreenivasan) to bring it to conclusion. Mammootty's performance is not up to expectation. Heroine Adhithi Rao fails to make an impact. Nedumudi Venu and Seema are passable as cunning, scheming parents.

Manianpillai Raju appears after a long gap. Siddique impresses as the crooked stepbrother and Sai Kumar delivers a laudable performance as a wily politician.

There are no songs in the film. Photography by Azhagappan and background music by Rajan Mani are mediocre. The concept of a benevolent dictator fails to gel with the real-life situation in rural Kerala where the panchayat system does not permit an individual to establish his authority.

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