'The King and the Commissioner' (Malayalam)
Director: Shaji Kailas
Cast: Mammootty, Suresh Gopi, Samvrutha Sunil, Saikumar
Merely minutes into ‘The King and the Commissioner’ you are caught in a theoretical puzzle - what is the minimum requirements to call a series of shots and heavy duty dialogues a movie? The film is nothing but a macabre drama, and even masochists won’t dare to sit through the 3.2-hour torment.
The long-winded guns-and-growls story is all about two alpha males breaking into action for no apparent reason. The storyline, if the film has one, is ridden with terminal illogicality.
We find Mollywood’s legendary men haven’t changed a bit in 17 years - Joseph Alex (Mammootty) still caresses his hair after each punchline and Bharath Chandran swears nonstop. Shaji Kailas and Ranji Panicker are lost in the jumble of their earlier films - the characters, situations and even formula remains the same. There is a potpourri of politicians, bureaucrats, corrupt cops and demigods, and as usual, there is a murder in the beginning. You still get to see the hero’s shoes first, the final fight sequence is at some abandoned godown and the baddies are executed amidst jingoist slogans. Forget high-octane action and earth shattering suspense, the so-called political potboiler lacks even proper build-up. Throughout the film, the heroes are engaged in an unending dialogue delivery competition (in three languages!), and in between the verbal gymnastics there are murders, gunfights and showdowns.
We have heard of James Cameroon creating a new language for the humanoids in ‘Avatar’. But Ranji Panicker beats him with the special syntax he developed for K&C mixing inflated English with desi expletives. But the never-ending dialogues and ample one-liners couldn’t salvage his phantom of a plot which simply fails to keep the audience on edge.
Moreover, it’s rather amusing to watch the entire political and bureaucratic circles in Delhi speak in Malayalam, and even the Pak infiltrators are chastised in the same. We have seen Joseph and Bharath giving two hoots to protocol in their earlier avatars. But K&C goes a step further where Joseph talks back to the Prime Minister and even gives him a lecture session on patriotism leaving the good old man maha impressed with his verbose.
There is no room for romance in the film, but to take a break from the bullets and bombs there is Samvrutha Sunil in her graceful saris. Other than her, the only other female who gets more than a miniscule of reel time is the sexy sanyasin in her low-neck saffron gowns. While Samvrutha’s mission in the film is to mouth her admiration for Joseph a couple of times, the other actress has a comparatively easy job. She stands like a mannequin and smirks while the camera expertly catches her curves giving us an impression that she will break into an item dance any moment. For Mammootty it was an outing without any sense, sensibility and sensitivity, and for Suresh Gopi another career disaster. While Mohan Agashe does a decent job as the Prime Minister Saikumar overplays his godman role to nauseating extremes. The technical side too is a major letdown.