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Malayalam Reviews

Malik(2021) : An intense and absorbing crime drama!

Mahesh Narayanan-Fahadh Fasil combo’s much anticipated Malik has finally arrived and it combines several of the communal, political and geographical incidents in the recent past while bringing out an intense and exhilarating drama on an epic level. The story is set around fictitious RamadaPally(Ramada Mosque) and nearby fishermen’s colony Edavathura, and tells the evolution of relationship among the people who belong to different communities and how Sulaiman Ali becomes the center of attention to everything that happens in the village.

Expectations were huge after watching the trailer and I must say I fell in love with it with the brilliantly arranged first sequence itself which went on until the title card. Setup at Sulaiman Ali’s(Fahadh Fasil) mansion, a meeting between a couple of politicians and Sulaiman is about to happen amidst a celebration ahead of Sulaiman’s Hajj trip. The long shot which ran approximately 12 minutes masterfully sets the tone for the movie, showing us the prevailing tensions and undercurrents. It moves through several characters and gives an essense of Sulaiman’s character and his past in those limited time. Quite a homage to the wedding party scene from The Godfather.

Even though the movie is claimed to be total fiction, it is hard not to draw comparisons to the BeemaPally riots in 2009 where police shot 6 men and the resulting communal tensions. Beema Pally becomes Ramada pally here and cheriyathura becomes Edavathura in Mahesh Narayanan’s narrative. He has combined several other political turmoils, relevant current topics and the tsunami that devastated the fishermen colonies etc. The 2 hour 40 minute run never felt long with slick editing, intercuts between past and present, and some brilliant cinematography by Sanu John Varughese, who has directed the brilliant Aarkkariyam recently. The initial sequence which is mentioned earlier and the breathtaking shot following Fahadh, amidst a series of police firing were high points in the absorbing visual spectacle.

Malik has quite an ambitious setup and the period of the movie ranges for several years. The growth of Sulaiman from nothing to an influential figure in his village comes as a result of smuggling, conflicts and bloodshed, which often gives the vibes of old gangster movie epics. Communal conflicts, friends turning enemies, Government and bureaucrats mishandling sensitive situations, all take center stage in this absorbing crime drama. The characters are powerful with the character arc and intentions of each significant characters carefully established. The acting department has given explosive performances as well. Most of the central characters are seen at different ages and the actors have done remarkable feats in portraying the character growth.

Fahadh Fasil is at his best as Sulaiman Ali; the boldness, vulnerabilities, and the internal turmoils of the character are completely safe in Fahadh’s hands. He once again sealed the tag given to him by foreign and national media as the Crusader of new wave in Malayalam cinema. Vinay Fortt as Sulaiman’s friend gives a stellar performance, while Dileesh Pothen as Aboobacker is not far behind. Nimisha Sajayan is another actor who gets better with each performance. Her portrayal of Roslin, Sulaiman’s love of his life, flows through several character traits as she grows and the actor nails it at every point. Indrans as calm and cunning CI George Zachariah, Dinesh prabhakar Sulaiman’s friend Peter, and Joju George as sub collector Anwar Ali give notable performances along with others in the supporting cast.

Mahesh Narayanan’s best work is still the amazing Take-off, and C U Soon is a brilliant film which was released during the lock-down. Malik proves to be another feather in his cap and a good addition to his filmography. It is an intensely pictured, extremely well-acted epic drama, one that is not to be missed whatever may be your reason! Watch it in as bigger screen as you can!!

By sreenathjvm

I am a healthcare professional. An ardent movie lover. Writing about movies forever has been an obsession.

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