When Mathew Manjooran (Mohanlal) remarks, “there is a villain in every hero, and a hero in every villain” the water tight distinction between two known types in popular imagination does not begin to blur, but it does lead to a momentary break from the usual black & white categories.
The good villain is always the social empath who cringes at the sight of injustice, their rise is a tale of their consequences & motivations, the pinnacle of their (mob) justice, eventually ending in the rise of a new hero to erase older villains, gradually leading to their transformation into the newer villain/hero as the case may be. It seems to be a cycle in which a hero, can be struck down by an unexpected calamity …
… Manjooran is a borderline case, his wife and daughter were unexpectedly snatched away from his happy life …
… he can turn into an antihero in due course of time. Does he or does he not (after Drishyam it is hard to speculate) don the role of a villain to avenge the death of his family to become their hero is one part of the film.
The film begins on the day ADGP Mathew Manjooran (#mohanlal) decides to end his career in the police force voluntarily. He has opted for an early retirement 7 months after a brutal “road accident” killed his wife killed his wife (Manju Warrier) and teenage daughter.
A melancholic Mohanlal in a salt and pepper bearded bespectacled gentleman in a trench coat look. We are sure to empathize with the restless demons he faces inside him, the craft of this actor. He is on a journey to a mysterious somewhere, away from his familiar people and places who knows for what purpose …
Meanwhile, a murder is planned and executed the previous night, discovered in the morning of his last day which stops him from starting on that trip. The task force concludes that it is the beginning of a series of public grievence redressals. Somebody has turned vigillante to rid the society of its “criminals” who have escaped the law with their power and money. “If that is the intention, how many people will they kill,” asks the Commissioner to Manjooran. This is the second part of the story.
The third part of the story is when Manjooran and the vigillante come face to face in a dialogue to review the current plight of the system of justice. The Fourth part is a suspense in this story… 😎 (No spoilers)
Stylish, slick & technical in its packaging, the office of the task force looks very similar to the one in The Blacklist and the Hollywood films of the genre. In spite of the excellent dialogue delivery of two very seasoned actors, Mohanlal & Siddique, with a supporting cast of Ranji Pannicker, Chemban Jose & Rashi Khanna in uniform, the idealistic Samaritan intentions in Manju Warrier’s Dr. Neelima, Vishal and Hansika Motwani bringing in the rest of the cast, the satisfaction of public punishments played out in this police procedural was too slow paced and predictable for my taste, or that of an edge of the seat thriller genre from the Grandmaster team.
Although categorised as a thriller, it seems to be more on the lines of B Unnikrishan’s take on the greyer shades of people psychology. The series of murders is the drama he pulls up to convey this. He uses Manjooran to filter down this to us. The film like a murder as the top cop remarks is a simple equation of who killed who. The rest of the theatrics are ways of camoflauging the details.
if only the pace was a notch faster, the script, the actors and the style would have fallen right in place making it a crowd puller.
Reaction: I had to get out of the theatre to buy a cup of extra strong coffee as I was fighting hard not to sleep inside. (The speculations of the men sitting behind me about the film kept me awake 😉) . Reviews have been calling this film an emotional tense thriller, a film re-defining the nature of a villain, a hero, and an anti hero. It does delve deep into the master killer’s life but there are 2-3 villains in this film, who can be put into boxes of good, not so good, monster, beast.
Villain is a 2017 Malayalam film starring Mohanlal, Vishal, Siddique, Manju Warrier, Chemban Vinod Jose, Ranji Pannicker directed by B Unnikrishan.