Balaram vs. Tharadas

Kudos to the director I.V. Sasi for making a crime thriller as his 144th film, a record 35th with Mammootty. Sasi is directing a film after 15 years. And Mammootty is playing a double role of Inspector Balaram as well as the criminal Tharadas.

Remember the films Adimakal Udamakal, Athirathram, Avanazhi and Inspector Balaram, all directed by Sasi in the Seventies and Eighties?

The new film has high-level politicians and police officers in place of small-time liquor contractors and policemen of low rank in those films.

Inspector Balaram, somewhere in Malabar, is straightforward and honest. He is hell-bent on nabbing Tharadas, involved in murder and arms smuggling. Since Tharadas stays in Dubai, Balaram arrests his lover and actor, Supriya (Katrina Kaif).

Tharadas rushes to India and saves her, but struggles to cover up his crimes of murder and smuggling with help from the chief minister, a handful of MLAs and a deputy superintendent of police.

Owing to Balaram's persistence, danger hovers over everybody's head and all desire to exterminate Tharadas, the last clue to their unholy alliance in murky deals of land grabbing and arms selling.

The film ends on a pleasant and surprising note.

After the success of Rajamanikyam and Turupu Gulan, Mammootty continues to enthral audience with his style of acting, doing any role with ease.

Katrina Kaif is learning the tricks of acting fast; she is marvellous in the role of an actress and a reluctant lover, on whom the police wrecks revenge to find the trace her lover.

Babu Sami, as a wily, corrupt chief minister, Siddique as a mean and opportunistic deputy superintendent of police, Rajmohan Unnithan as a trickster, Subair as minister, Vani Vishwanath as MLA, and Mukesh as a dexterous and extremely loyal police officer, sparkle in their respective roles. Srinivasan has been wasted in the role of editor of a lowly crime magazine. Jagadish and Kalpana lend humour as a police couple.

Story and dialogue are by T. Damodharan and S.N. Sami. Two songs have been set to tune by Jazzie Gift. Background music is by Raja Mani. Photography is by Sanjiv Shankar.

Art of story telling seems to be gradually disappearing from our films.

Sasi teaches a lesson to up-and-coming directors on how best a story can be told. The film seems to be a bit long.

However, the audience wait with bated breath on the edge of their chairs till the last minute to see how the drama unfolds.