One of my earliest memories of watching a movie in a theatre is that of the 1991 sequel to Avanazhi, Inspector Balram. Mammooty at his intense best in a role that would in time become the gold standard for police officer characters in Malayalam Cinema, or so. Balram was the Dirty Harry of Malayalam, sans the Magnum .44 of course, though the climax of Inspector Balram had more to do with Die Hard I, if you ask me. Mammooty in khaki was always pitched as the stuff of cinematic dreams to the audience and whenever his luck at the box office has been down the star has donned the uniform to try and get the cash registers ringing again, wouldn’t blame him either. Well, why would Mamootty debate when people are convinced that when it comes to playing lawyers and policemen other actors a’int got shit on him. Lawyers because he has law degree.By that logic, Mohanal would have made a legendary WWE wrestler. Just saying.
Abrahaminte Santhathikal is Mammooty’s fourth outing as a cop in the past two years and is in fact another unremarkable addition to the string of mediocre films the actor has been churning out at a regular pace, of late. Going in, I had read the best things about the film on social media and even Mathrubhumi, who have been posting “genuine” reviews ever since a fiasco involving a “popular” actor on the wrong side of the law put them at loggerheads with the film industry at large, reduced the only negative thing they had to say about the film to a single closing sentence, in their review. Yeah, you could argue that I had my hopes sent up in an express elevator to the 130th floor of the Burj Khalifa and if I did’nt like the film, the blame rests entirely up on me and my expectations , which if you care to ask is a logic that I haven’t quite been able to wrap my head around. Now, there are two possibilities the way I see it, either I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to movies or Mammooty films aren’t doing justice to the man’s talent and stature as an actor and a star anymore. And allow me to assure you for a fact that the former is not the case. The only reason I’m finding time to write about the film is because I just happened to realise that I was not the only one who was fooled by the fanfare.
Abrahaminte Santhathikal starts off with the mandatory introduction scene for the hero, the tackiness of which is challenged only by its blatant racism. Of course, such nuanced thinking is alien to us as an audience in God’s Own Country. One though has to admire the perseverence of the makers in their decision to stick to time tested, stale formats and choosing to shut doors on creative thinking. It’s not a surprise at all that a movie as disoriented as this leaves the viewer in a similar state of mind too. From a ransom drama to a serial killer hunt to murder mystery to family drama, every genre is visited by the makers here, which in itself is quite an achievement. The movie constantly engages in a mental sparring match with the viewer using some of the most incoherent writing you will ever come across in films to a point where the viewers’ senses are numbed and they stop caring entierly about script and storyline. The makers then shove some slow motion sequences which is synonymous with stylishness in our cinema, accompanied by some rousing BGM down the audience’s throats. That’s the plot of the movie, if you ask me, literally. An actor of Mammooty’s calibre deserves better film making and bit more responsibility on the part of the makers. That’s saying like it is.