Leaning heavily on star power

Mammootty’s acting acumen remains unchallenged

Published - April 01, 2017 12:11 am IST

The Great Father handles many sensitive issues.

The Great Father handles many sensitive issues.

Nuance is not something one should expect from a superstar film, but it is certainly required when the film is handling a sensitive issue. But, in The Great Father , starring Mammootty, stark binaries are dished out instead. Nothing explains this more than the two expensive vehicles that the hero uses — a white one for those times when he is a decent family man, dropping his daughter to school and a black one with a menacing look for those times when he is on the hunt for his adversaries. Truly, black and white.

Directed by Haneef Adeni, The Great Father is a film which banks a little too heavily on Mammootty’s star power and style quotient. The star worship starts through the eyes of his daughter Sara (Baby Anikha) who has a habit of constantly narrating her father’s exploits in Mumbai’s underworld to her classmates. But those are all in the past, as her father David Ninan (Mammootty) is now a big builder in town.

At a critical juncture, when the family is facing a crisis, Ninan sheds his calm demeanour, gets out his black SUV and begins the hunt for a psychopath. Always one step behind him is police officer Andrew Eapen (Arya). For the diehard fans of the superstar, this is goose bumps territory, with him strutting about in stylish jackets and shades, with a pulsating score in the background and with the punch lines arriving thick and fast.

However, it becomes problematic when these come in a film handling sensitive issues such as rape and paedophilia.

The character development, especially of the masked psychopath who is very creatively named ‘joker’, leaves a lot to be desired. More than the mask on the perpetrator’s face, the film puts blinders on the audience, as our understanding of the characters remains shallow, even at the end. This was perhaps the side-effect of their need to surprise and shock the audience with a twist, by introducing the real face of the psychopath in the last scene. It’s plain lazy to call it a twist, when you show a character passingly in the first few sequences and then reintroduce him as the hidden villain in the final act.

But, if there is anything which holds together the film and makes it even remotely watchable, it’s Mammootty’s star power, which is used to the hilt, even as his acting veins remain unchallenged. Strictly for diehard fans.

S.R. Praveen

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