‘Malik’ has Fahadh Faasil as the hero and is helmed by Mahesh Narayanan. The last time this combo came together was for the experimental ‘C U Soon’, which turned out to be an interesting film. ‘Malik’ apparently was made before this and was awaiting a mega theatrical release but finally got released on the OTT platform. After watching the film, I understand why the makers were keen on a theatrical release. ‘Malik’ is set on an expansive scale with the story covering the journey of the hero from childhood to old age woven together with a plethora of events.
Just like his earlier two films – ‘Take Off’ and ‘C U Soon’, Director Mahesh Narayanan weaves the story around real life headlines that happened in Kerala. And in the process churns out a Malayalam version of ‘God Father’ in few bits and ‘Nayagan’ in many pieces. While the setting is in a coastal hamlet in Kerala, much of the scenes are inspired by ‘Nayagan’. So, the story is about a local gangster who takes law into his own hands but provides succour to his community by taking the administration head on. But unlike ‘Nayagan’, which strictly stuck to the benevolent gangster narrative, ‘Malik’ wades into communal, political and social waters.
Mahesh who has also done the writing for the film, deftly puts together a complex sequence of events in the screenplay that keeps us hooked to the story. But I must add that much of it is predictable thanks to the familiarity of the genre. I really felt that the story line had tremendous scope to move away from recreating scenes from the past epics. I must reiterate that in the case of ‘Malik’, familiarity indeed breeds contempt and makes the film underwhelming.
In terms of technique and making, the film is of highest order. Sanu Varghese’ camera work not just captures the coastal milieu superbly but adds value to the scene setting where required, like in the riots and the shooting scenes, not to mention of the long opening steady cam shot. Mahesh who himself is an ace editor and technician (we saw his class in ‘C U Soon’) demonstrates once again his solid hold on the craft.
There is a twist in the climax but it is fully strewn with loop holes. For 2 hours and 40 minutes, the film is pretty long and a bit of tight editing to cut 10-15 minutes would have done the film a lot of good.
Fahadh as Sulaiman, the don is as usual brilliant. Credit to him for playing the role completely “UnKamal” like. At every phase of his life as the don, he gets the body language and looks right. We see Nimisha Sajayan once again here and as Fahadh’s wife holds her own. Among the supporting cast, Vinay Fortt playing the role of Fahadh’s childhood buddy deserves a strong mention. Indrans is a surprise package too. The casting of many of other roles like Joju George, Dileesh Pothan and even Jalaja is bang on target.
As I read somewhere, it is not important where you copy from. What is important is where you paste it. If I may slightly modify the same, what is important is what you copy and how you paste it. It is clear that Malik is an inspired version of ‘God Father’ and ‘Nayagan’. I only wish, the inspiration stopped at the theme and didn’t extend to the scenes and plot points. Even then, ‘Malik’ has turned out to be an O.K film but not a great one as it is touted to be. Watch it with less expectations and you may really like it.