Film: Second Show (Malayalam)

Director: Srinath Rajendran

Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Sunny Wayne , Gauthami Nair, Sudesh Berry

“This is no Tamil film that the heroine should fall in love with the goonda hero,” the leading lady of Second Show tells the protagonist when he asks for her hand in marriage.

The light treatment of the story, a young, promising cast, and the surprising climax, however, can only do so much to redeem the film of its many clichés.

Harilal, alias Lalu, portrayed by actor Mammootty's son and debutant Dulquer Salmaan, is a young man who comes from a family of meagre means.

While he spends his mornings loafing around with his friend Kurudi (a show-stealing performance by Sunny Wayne, yet another newcomer), at night he transports illegally-mined sand to make a living.

The film has debutants behind the screen as well with film direction by Srinath Rajendran, screenplay by Vini Viswa Lal and Pappu behind the camera.

A few fight scenes, brooding looks, corrupt cops, murders, and drunk revelries later, we find that chance has taken Lalu and Kurudi up the ladder of crime to take them into the service of feared drug-lord Vishnu Buddhan (played by Sudesh Berry).

The hero's mercurial rise, in true filmy style, is aided more by his ability to single-handedly beat up whole gangs of armed thugs, than by his wits or just luck.

Meanwhile, Lalu also falls in love with his uncle's daughter (portrayed by debutante Gauthami Nair) and the two hit it off after initial hiccups.

The rest of the film follows Lalu's rise and fall on the paths of crime — replete with backstabbing, double-crossing, oaths of revenge, and a few digs at the corruption in society.

Despite a shaky start, the film picks up pace towards the second half.

Some brilliant music by Nikhil Rajan and Avial, and a fresh, though slightly manipulative, background score also prop up the otherwise clichéd script.

Nidhi Surendranath