The International Movie Review

A venture

Roudram – Mammootty, fully loaded

Posted by harino1 on February 18, 2008

What do you look out for in a Renji Panikkar flick? Especially when the hero is donning khaki? A film that entertains more with dialogues than with activity.

An action thriller which doesn’t showcase much physical action. A protagonist who single-handedly takes on the vicious nexus of politicians, the mafia, high-ranking police officers and street goons. A hero who is hands-on with media reports and political scandals and delivers punch-lines. A hero who is upright, for whose dedication dear ones pays, sometimes even with their lives, leading to a no-holds-barred hunt for the bad guys.

So you are here in familiar territory, complete with all the Renji Panikkar regulars in ‘Roudram’. Here, the difference offered is definitely Mammootty, who is teaming up with the director in the role of a police officer.‘Roudram’ offers all the regular fare identified with this genre. However, for die-hard fans of the genre, this two-hour-forty-minutes flick is partially entertaining, if not riveting.

The one reason ‘Roudram’ may not work is that the movie’s framework is too similar to the template of Panikkar’s  previous hit ‘Bharatchandran IPS’. The story is all about Narendran, an honest ACP, who has the guts to take on the corrupt system, fulfilling his father’s wish (he was also an officer who died during an operation). Narendran — popularly called Nari — is offered a case to work on, directly from the Chief Minister’s office: a case of the murder of Kambilikandam Jose, a drug dealer.

As usual, the protagonist, with the support of S P Thomas Antony and DIG Shihabudeen lays siege against the corrupt elements of the department like ACP Joy and even the IG Balagopal, who have their dirty interests in the case.

The CM, through opening an investigation of a petty drug dealer, is trying to check the growth of a drug mafia group that may pose a threat to the government. But as Nari goes hunting down the tracks, more and more people associated, gets killed by the evil-doers. And in the final showdown, the CM’s office too finds Nari too dangerous to be given such a case which has got its repercussions on the government’s fortunes. And in the final showdown, the CM plans to call an end to the investigations. How Nari succeeds to trace out and extinguish the threats forms the rest of the film.

The overall treatment of the movie is pegged to the last decade’s potboilers, with a potpourri of various ingredients ranging from drug mafia to corruption in the administration. The direction is also not so commendable as Renji seems to have been more involved with writing bombastic dialogues, than to create any novelty in scene realization or narrative techniques. But the one reason it may work is Mammootty’s excellent performance that makes you root for this larger-than-life protagonist. He has really got himself into shape for this one, trying to get into the minute details of the character. The audience is spared the high-voltage non-stop dialogue delivery that is characteristic of Renji Panikker heroes. Saikumar as mafia king Sethu, Rajan P Dev as DIG Shihabudeen,Vijayaraghavan as Appichayee  and the rest of the cast are in their usual castlines, even airing the same type of dialogues they are expected to do. Newcomer Manju as Nari’s wife Prabha, looks good have not much to do.

The technical departments including the editing by Don max and the cinematography by Sanjeev Sanker gels with the theme. If the pace set in the first half was maintained post-interval too, ‘Roudram’ would have become a really good thriller. The rather tame climax and some slackened post-interval portions hamper the film’s overall flow.

The second half downers notwithstanding, ‘Roudram’ is a mostly taut action that will bank heavily on the Mammootty factor to get things going at the box office.


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