The Weekend is just a day away but we already have a biggie at hand. And with that I have just finished watching the new Malayalam film Malik on Amazon Prime. The Malayalam Film Industry has provided so many shades this year. If it was a take on the patriarchy with The Great Indian Kitchen, or a group of policemen fighting the system in Nayattu or even Parenthood(or the lack of it) in Sara’s, or a supernatural Techno Horror in Chathur Mukham, this is just the range the industry has displayed without even getting into films like Kala, Drishyam 2, Joji and Aarkariyam. And this week, another shade is been introduced – The Gangster Drama. Starring one of the best actors of the country Fahadh Faasil, this one had naturally got me interested. So then does Malik deliver, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Malik follows the story of a young Juvenile who is tasked to kill an experienced gangster behind bars who incidently is his uncle. Again, just a one liner to keep you interested but my words will not do justice to the kind of depth that the story has in terms of characterisation and situations. As they say, there are two sides to the same coin, the story has loads of this element and more that makes it a satisfying experience on paper. And it required some solid execution, the screenplay does just that. It opens with a 12 minutes one take sequence(that faintly reminds you of the opening wedding sequence in The Godfather) wherein the writers introduce you to the household of our protagonist and the undercurrents flowing through. The intention here is to just give you a gist as a bystander, which leaves you scratching your head as to what on earth is going on, in a technically brilliant one take. As things progress, you are exported to a flashback wherein you are introduced to the main players and how they find themselves in the situation that they are in. And in doing so, there are many issues smartly tackled that of communalism and the politics behind it. Very polished. The pacing is slow here that allows you to sink your teeth into the drama and taste every bit of it as it melts in your mouth. There are several twists and turns throughout culminating into a shocking final act that will leave you dazed. <span;>This is a perfect example of a polished gangster drama. Just one demerit could be its length which I felt was a tad too long, around 10-12 minutes could have been chopped off on the edit table. But overall a writing masterclass nevertheless.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are cerebral so much so that you need to pay attention to the minute details especially at the very beginning to get a gist of what is happening. This was risky as generally as an audience you take your time to settle in the film. But clever references made through dialogues during the screenplay help you come to terms with the drama. And the dialogues leave a lasting impact. The music is pretty good, the BGM is brilliant and sets the tone for the entire drama. The cinematography is excellent and the action sequences are designed almost as if you are in the middle of it! Executed perfectly! Director Mahesh Narayan has done an outstanding job never taking the intelligence of the audience for granted, instead making the drama layered and cerebral with several buildups. Distinction marks to the direction.
The performances are simply outstanding. Divya Prabha shines in a cameo as Ayeshaa. Dinesh Prabhakar as Peter is first rate. Parvathy Krishna as Dr. Shermin definitely leaves a mark. I was very impressed with Sanal Aman who is excellent as Freddy. He was able to express through his eyes so well particularly towards the end. Dileesh Pothan as Aboobacker, the wily MLA is so well portrayed. He shifts his loyalties swiftly and he has essayed it so perfectly that he will keep the audience guessing throughout. Joju George who is one of my personal favourites is wonderfully restrained as Anwar. Nimisha Sajayan as Roseline plays a conflicted character so beautifully although I feel her character could have been explored a bit more. Vinay Forrt as David is such a natural and plays perfect foil to our protagonist. Which brings me to the Best Actor we have in our country at the moment – Fahadh Faasil. As Ali Sulaiman he yet again delivers a powerful performance. You may miss him in the first 30 odd minutes(after the opening act) but he soon appears and grips you like he always does. At times, he single handedly holds your attention and doesn’t let it swiver. This perhaps is the year that many may have discovered the acting prowess of one of finest actors doing the rounds. First Irul, then Joji and now Malik, this actor is here to stay and further consolidate his status with many such acting masterclasses.
Malik is the Best Gangster Drama of 2021. And it is that Industry that delivers yet another masterpiece – The Malayalam Film Industry. Available on Amazon Prime and Highly Highly Recommended.