For anyone who keeps tab on the contemporary developments in the state, it would have been hard to miss the screaming headlines about deep vaults and invaluable treasure which hogged the limelight and lured one and all. The developments make way for the perfect plot for a ‘heist’ movie, a novel genre in Malayalam cinema. ‘Mr Fraud,’ which generated enough heat pre-release, courtesy the long-drawn wrangles over the past few weeks, is a brave attempt to introduce Malayali audience to this high-octane genre. The film for the masses switches to a safe mode by fitting the heist into the milieu of a palace.
The title character, played by Mohanlal, is an international fraudster with a track record of pulling off the most unimaginable thefts. He boasts of not having any emotional baggage. His team, a trio, land in Kerala for the act which he describes as his swansong which is expected to bring in the crores.
It is a deal with Nikky (Dev Gill) and Javed (Aswin Mathew) and a third, unknown entity. Rajasekhara Varma (Siddique), an ardent Communist leader and the legal heir to the palatial riches, has filed a case for submitting the moolah to the government treasury.Camouflaged as an evaluator, the protagonist manages to take the well-preserved treasure from the ancient chamber, with astute planning and modern gizmos.
However, despite all his efforts to evade, fortune plays its role as he learns the identity of the third party in the deal.
Then the story moves from being a mere heist drama, as it strikes an emotional chord through the characters of Varma (Siddique) and his daughter Saraswati (Mia George).
Despite glimpses of many earlier roles, mainly of the ‘omniscient hero’, the character looks different. Lal is a treat for the fans with his look, style and gait. There is a fair sprinkling of one-liners for the masses, but the director doesn’t go overboard with it. The film takes cue from the controversial statements of some political leaders, like “One ..two ...three...” and the usage of ‘stinker’.
The film makes a bold statement about the status and the social view of rape victims. The director deserves applause for this unconventional thread in a thriller.Carved in the popular format, with enough action-packed sequences and convincing performances, coupled with technical finesse, ‘Mr Fraud’ has the potential to win hearts of die-hard Mohanlal fans and thrill junkies alike.