Get two superstars on a single page. No longer sufficient. Get jingoism in. Now all the inputs to get the viewer interested is in place. Obviously, the greatest challenge is to get two power-stars together. Strategically get actors/stars from different woods. Having taken the stars, inherited the advantage of their persona, Director KV Anand could have done far better. The cosmetics are in place. The form is on. The storyline is suspect, predictable and too formulistic. This is exactly what a film maker does with a cliché collective and imagination in a safe deposit vault.
The fault surely is in the approach and even over more insulting is the assessment of viewer IQ aggregate. The film from Anand not only has a moth-eaten tale of the heady-unholy mix of big business and politics but also has characters, straight jacketed from the book of the good and bad. When you walk out of the cinema after all of the 165 minutes and counting and the customary cast -sneaks past in the midst of a song, you wonder why so much of effort for what has been told ever so often hitherto. If cinema is about technique then the stuntman and the cinematographer (Abhinandan Ramanujam) must take credit (?) for the end product. However, if perceived as art where did it slip of in the din and dust of the narrative?
Are actors (read stars) who make megabucks naïve in their imagination or safe in their formulae. Surya failed to ask his director why a good part of his role needed to be shot again. They may well have been edited from his earlier outings, except that the multiple members credited with the “stunts” gain more experience make auditorium of their respective CV’s.
The film story is about a military officer Ravi Kishore (Surya) who is seen earlier in the shots moving quickly in an abortive attempt on the life of Prime Minister Chandra Kant Varma (Mohanlal). There is the minister in the cabinet who holds defence portfolio (JP) the industrialist Mahadev Rajan (Bomman Irani), the PM’s family including his son Abhishek (Arya) who hangs out at official meetings. There is also the Secretary Anjali (Sayyesha) who loses her dad another Union Minister in a terrorist attack. What starts of as a no holds bar attack on Pakistan sponsored terrorism soon becomes a domestic political drama for money and power involving the son of the PM the successful global industrialist and some member in the Union cabinet. The camera stops at stereotype suspects like a long-bearded Muslim and similar false leads.
The film retains some credibility till half time thanks substantially to the charismatic presence of Mohanlal. It is awesome that this actor defies loud environ and never goes overboard. Full credit to the film maker to get an actor of such talent who covers up for the multiple faults in the narrative. The script tires you with jingoism or enthuses with patriotic spirit (depending where you hail from). It is brazen and by definition lacking in style or imagination. Surya is all stars. He kicks, stunts, fights, dances and does his physical exercises all in the name of acting. Whether this is the formula that gets Surya his elusive success in more recent times, time will tell. In the meanwhile, this star-studded outing is worth a miss. No proper bando bust on clichés. Common, the viewer excepts more when Mohanlal and Surya get together like Dilip-Amitabh (Shakti) even Mohanlal-Junior NTR (Janata Garage).
This is a rusted script, polished in a robust but tiring display of all scenarios, known, seen and experienced. It is Mohanlal who adds credibility, Surya the usual stardust. Only very dusty outing.