Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea
And one of the biggest spectacle is here on an OTT platform! The most expensive Malayalam film finds its way on the OTT and I finished watching Marakkar on Amazon Prime. The makers had contemplated on a direct OTT release for a while before opting for a theatrical one. Right from its trailer, it was evident that the film deserved a 70mm screen to enjoy it yo the fullest. Now, I did miss out on the theatrical release but now that the film is out on OTT I have finally finished watching it. It has been a great year for Malayalam cinema with limited budget films doing very well. Now, would a magnum opus having a massive budget and made on a grand scale taste success as well? Lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Marakkar follows the story of the legend of Kunjali Marakkar and his epic face off with the Portuguese. Firstly, credit to the makers for actually presenting the tale of the legend as it was a chapter long forgotten in our history text books. The film is made on a massive scale mounted on a huge celluloid which is quite evident. Unfortunately keeping this point in mind, the writing here is weak. The thing is when you push the stakes up, you require some solid writing to back your product as well. If you remember Bahubali, it had a solid screenplay coupled with a massive scale. Here though it is all glitz but little substance. While the first half has a good buildup with a young protagonist finding his feet post a tragedy, it nicely sets the ball rolling for the proceedings to follow. While you are introduced to the characters, there is this simmering tension as well in the background. But the face off that I was looking forward to takes place at the halfway mark in a terrifically shot battle sequence. This is when I did get my expectations high but what followed was a damp and uninspiring second half. Some of the subplots were interesting but half baked which eventually just added to the runtime. At times the drama did lag to an extent only to end on a at best above average end. In other words, the screenplay is predictable and only works in parts but if I look at it on the whole it does fall short of expectations. It pains me to point out the flaws as the film has a National Award to its credit. But unfortunately, the film isn’t the best version of itself.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are decent although nothing much to shout about surprisingly. The music is good and the BGM is pretty good. This is a technically sound product by a mile with terrific VFX that makes the action look quite regal. Speaking of the action sequences, the makers falter with some over the top scenes where simplicity was the need of the hour. Some of the action scenes seemed to be inspired from the Hollywood film Troy. Director Priyadarshan shows moments of brilliance only to squander a good first hour with a mediocre second hour.
The performances are pretty good. Manju Warrier as Subaida and Keerthy Suresh as Aarcha both are good in a very limited screentime. Pranav Mohanlal as the young Marakkar was an interesting choice of casting and a good one. Ashok Selvan as Achuthan is decent but the film lacked a good antagonist even from the Portuguese side. Siddique as Pattu is terrific, Suniel Shetty as Chandroth is good. Arjun Sarja is outstanding as Anandan. But it is Mohanlal as Kunjali Marakkar who shines in this magnum opus. His aura drives the film throughout wherein he demands every bit of your attention.
Marakkar squanders a good first half with an average second half thereby turning into a bit of a disappointment. Available on Amazon Prime.