Two days to go for the weekend yet I am finishing a couple of leftovers from the previous weekend. With that I finished watching the new Malayalam film Monster starring Mohanlal and streaming on Hotstar. By now you do know that Malayalam films are my absolute favourite despite them having a supposedly “mediocre” year as compared to 2021. Anytime, there is a new Malayalam film in town, I am excited. But the case with Monster was slightly different.
Monster did have a theatrical release but much to my dismay the film garnered horrible reviews. I can’t quite remember the last time when a Malayalam film was panned to this extent, and universally so. But when it comes to Malayalam films, even their bad ones are way better than some of the good ones from other industries. And so I thought, Monster would surely not be that bad. Right? Right? And I was so wrong here! I never thought that a day would come when I will be panning a Malayalam film. But here we go, here are my two cents on Monster.
Story & Screenplay
Monster follows the story of Lucky Singh as he makes his way into a household in Kochi but nothing is what it seems. The story here is just plain average and perhaps the strongest part of the film that doesn’t say much. The screenplay standing at 135 minutes did feel like a proper slog. It was astonishing on how Monster did not even feel like a Malayalam movie for starters.
If you are privy to Malayalam films then you would know that there is a dedicated time allotted to the world building in the screenplay. But here the start is as abrupt as it can get. So we are introduced to the protagonist who is a cab driver and stays with her husband and child in Kochi. But it is the introduction of Lucky Singh who brings about a change in the screenplay, except that the change is for the worse! His over the top antics are so ridiculous that I found myself cringing and face-palming myself often. And they were borderline problematic too, as it turned out, that had no relevance to the screenplay.
The humour in the first half is as flat as a pancake. The approach taken here is so preposterous that you as a viewer know that there is a twist round the corner. So after multiple diversions and a random gig in the house, the first twist is introduced, something that you can look at from a distance. Had the approach of the makers been restrained(especially for the antics of Lucky Singh) and true to the nature of the screenplay, the impact would have been better. And if you thought the first half was bad, wait for the second half!
The second half opens all the floodgates where the writing just lacks conviction. The twists are all over the place and predictable. But more importantly, the representation of the LGBTQ community lacked sensitivity. Here I recall the film Mumbai Police that had a similar angle to the film. But notice at how gently that twist was incorporated as compared to here that made me want to throw up. Also the representation of Sikhs was bad to put it in a good way. No Sikh talks like that, even when the real Lucky Singh turns up! I really wonder how was this dogsh*t greenlit and that too from the Malayalam Film Industry who is the torch bearer of great content in the country. I guess I have seen it all, time to retire from reviewing films maybe?? If interested, the ending is ridiculously bad and half baked, not to mention all over the place thus summing up a screenplay that was unintentionally funny.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are just so cringe worthy with every stereotype thrown in the lines. The character of Lucky Singh does Balle Balle as the same resonates as a BGM. This was just not expected from a Malayalam film. The songs are good here although one song is randomly placed in the drama for a very good reason known to the makers only. The BGM is horrible in the first hour, playing out as a comedy at the most unfunny places but in the second hour things do improve. Some of the action sequences do have a good score while the sequences in itself are very generic. The cinematography is alright. Director Vysakh who had previously directed Night Drive, makes a hash of the proceedings and how. There is no conviction in his direction as it baffled me that he had taken a comedic approach only to shift gears in the second hour. This was as bad as bad could be!
The performances are just about okay. Sudev Nair is sincere. Lakshmi Manchu as Durga is plastic and doesn’t impress as much as she should have. Honey Rose as Bhamini looks pretty and does a good job here. Mohanlal is a great actor otherwise but here as Lucky Singh he is just so over the top and absolutely cringe personified. His character is a case of convenient writing gone awfully wrong as there is no real character arc as well. All in all a disappointing act by the megastar!
Monster is the worst Malayalam film of the year. Avoid! The message needs to be loud and clear that the audience cannot be served bullsh*t in the name of entertainment. Available on Hotstar!