Raajadhiraja, Masterpiece and now Shylock. These are the lineup of films in the order in which they reached the audience made by director Ajai Vasudev. And the highlight of the first two is that they placed Mammootty as a larger than life hero. But leaving that aside, if you go deeper you will know that the genre of all these flicks is mass masala similar to some Tamil and Telugu flicks. So what we need to expect in the latest film helmed by the very same director is crystal clear.
Shylock is a treat for the fans of The Megastar and is an entertainer doing justice to the genre. There are enough moments appearing very frequently to celebrate and rejoice for a hardcore fan of Mammootty. Yes the film is formulaic with every cliches and characters that we have seen so many times before but Mammootty displaying a level of energy that we haven’t seen from him recently owns it and carries it on his shoulder.
The story has a backdrop of financing in the film industry itself. Boss, a self-styled financier controls Malayalam industry as a major chunk of film production has his presence as a lender. The plot pits him against Felix John who is the Commissioner of Police and a producer named Prathapa Varma. What the film portray is their rivalry and where it concludes.
Ajai Vasudev and his scenarist duo of Aneesh Hameed and Bibin Mohan clearly knew what the hardcore fans of Mammootty wanted. And based on that requirement given the apt treatment to an ordinary and very predictable story with enough punch dialogues and action sequences. They have cleverly exploited how the actor can be utilized by adding mannerisms and style to the actor’s dialogue delivery. It was an all-out Mammootty show in the first half where a series of mass moments appear one after the other making the theatre lively.
But by halfway mark, from the perspective of the plot, there isn’t much development as the focus of the first hour was solely on projecting the hero and his antics. It is in the latter half that we see the story shift its gear and reveal a flashback involving our hero and close family of him. A little bit of momentum is lost during this period where we miss the energy that we witnessed in the pre-intermission portions. But there has to be some backend incidents to connect everything so this phase cannot be avoided. There aren’t any surprises in store here and the route the film travel was very much on the expected lines. Its all about how the hero executes his fight against his nemesis and that’s what we see in rest of the narrative. All the emotional moments that appear post-interval didn’t yield the desired results but again its the mass moments that takes the film to an expected climax.
Typical one liners that we see in a mass film, high-octane stunts, punch dialogues and some humorous moments are all part of Shylock. Ajai Vasudev has a typical treatment reminiscent of yesteryear Tamil and Telugu mass films. He borrows the same concept and have effectively placed that into this subject with success. One can say the storyline is weak and there is nothing new the film has to offer but that was expected. One thing I can say and that is the packaging of the whole film. It is done in such a manner that it provide wholesome entertainment to the audience. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that it is an Ajai Vasudev film whose track record is inclined more towards mass and action in a familiar template.
Coming to performances, its purely a Mammootty show especially the entire first half proceedings completely belongs to him. The style, mannerisms and energy level was something that was missing from him for a while which he brought back in the character of Boss. Siddhique and Shajon have meaty roles as the antagonists with both of them excelling in their respective roles but it wasn’t enough to overtake the one-man show of The Megastar. Baiju and Hareesh Kanaran as the right and left hands of Boss was okay.
When the story shift its base from Kerala, we get to see actors like Raajkiran, Meena, Bibin George, Arjun Nandakumar, John Vijay and the director himself donning a character with a grey shade. But among them, only Raajkiran as Aiyyanaar was able to make his presence felt. There is nothing to do for any of the female presence in the film though it was a good sight to see Meena back in a Malayalam film. Gopi Sundar’s songs were nothing fresh as we see a bar song followed by a marriage song and the music as well as their visualization was following the template. Same set of background score was used whenever we see our hero in the thick of things. It was repetitive and familiar but was enough to give boost to whatever a larger than life hero does on screen.