Malik Movie Review Rating: 3.5/5 Stars (Three and a half stars)
Star Cast: Fahadh Faasil, Vinay Forrt, Nimisha Sajayan, Joju George, Dileesh Pothan
Director: Mahesh Narayan
Available On: Amazon Prime
What’s Good: Fahadh Faasil, in a movie discussing communalism without any filter in-depth. Do you need any other reason for this to be good? (If yes, there are more)
What’s Bad: Though style-wise, it remains under the required lines without going too-grand; the overambition is visible at places it should have been
Loo Break: It’s 2 hours 42 minutes, there would be a natural problem if you don’t take at least one because the film won’t tempt you to
Watch or Not?: Ones who have even the slightest idea about what this film is won’t wait for my validation and the rest of you – watch it if you can digest a slow-burning political drama
The story pans through 30 years of Ahammadali Sulaiman, aka Ali Ikka’s (Fahadh Faasil) life. Introducing the ‘misunderstood Robinhood’ of modern Kerala, Sulaiman is shown leaving for Haj amid tight security while dodging some criminal activities he has done in the past. He gets captured at the airport & there we go into the flashback told by his estranged mother, Jameela (Jalaja).
The flashback takes us through the rise & mindset of Sulaiman’s thoughts. He is the flag-bearer of courage for the people of his community, and the story majorly focuses on how his personal life indirectly impacts the things he does for his community. How Sulaiman unwillingly initiates & suffers through a communal war in his area is what the story is all about.
Malik Movie Review: Script Analysis
This is my first experience with a Mahesh Narayanan (Director, editor & writer here) film, and it’s incredible how easily he grabs your attention for 161 minutes straight. The non-linear route of story-telling helps the film to retain the intrigue in more than one way. Narayan plots his leading character amid the story taken from the real-life incident of the Beemapally police shooting in 2009. Suburbs Beemapally & Cheriyathura turn into Ramadapally and Edavathura.
Though a statement says this is a work of fiction & the lead’s journey is fictional, but its backdrop is as real as it can get. You’ve pitched two communities against each other in a fight many don’t even want to be a part of, but they’ve due to political pressure. Where is fiction?
Sanu John Varughese’s camerawork covers a hell lot without getting messy. Be it the long uninterrupted introductory sequence or the drone shots capturing the Arabian sea, cinematography keeps things dark & gritty. The only department where Narayanan gets lenient is editing. Not because of the film’s length (161 minutes), but few abrupt cuts which must be there to compliment the linear narration does break the link. Because there’s so much to tell, there aren’t any vacant gaps in between.
Malik Movie Review: Star Performance
The narrative focuses majorly on three phases of Sulaiman’s life, starting with an up & coming smuggler with a conscience, proceeds with a ‘family man’ stuck between ‘doing good’ & ‘happening bad’, ends with the powerful man witnessing his power getting stripped off. Fahadh injects soul in every single of them. He plays three different characters in one, making sure the current is better than the last. He’s in his own league when it comes to emoting, and Malik is yet another exceptional addition to his glorious filmography.
Nimisha Sajayan’s Roselyn constantly tries to fit in the man’s world created by Mahesh Narayanan, and that’s where the problem lies. This character is going through the biggest dilemma of her life, but you won’t be able to feel her pain. Visible efforts by Nimisha for registering her presence amid the chaos, but she deserved a better character arc.
Vinay Forrt’s David is the second-most important character post Sulaiman & is rightly owned by the talented actor. Vinay beautifully essays David’s internal conflict in choosing between a friend and his community. Joju George as I.A.S. Anwar Ali & Dileesh Pothan, as Malik’s friend-turned-politican, fit in with perfection.
Malik Movie Review: Direction, Music
Mahesh Narayan takes the real-life incidents and mashes them up in a world similar to Godfather, Peaky Blinders. He doesn’t shift his focus from his ‘Malik’ Fahadh Faasil and writes a complicated character for the viewers to unpeel his layers. This isn’t always a boon for him because in this journey; he overloves Sulaiman so much, so he puts certain of his vices under the rug. He builds the situation which has made Sulaiman what he is today and throws in situations softening his criminal tropes.
Sushin Shyam’s background score is extravagant in a haunting way & it just sticks with you without disrupting anything. Songs are well-knit with the narrative & hence aren’t obtrusive.
Malik Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done; Malik is one of the most detailed gangster dramas to come out of the Indian film industry. Addressing communalism without many filters, backed by a magical performance by Fahadh Faasil, this film deserves every minute from the 161 of them it asks for.
Three and a half stars!
Malik releases on 14th July, 2021.
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