Thursday, July 24, 2014

Naduvazhikal (1989)

Director: Joshi
Writer:    S.N. Swami
Cast:      Mohanlal, Devan, Murali, Madhu, Thilakan

Arjun (Mohanlal) is the son of a man with big influence who made his money through smuggling. He is dragged into his father's affairs who is arrested due to business enmity.

Film is another one in the crime-family drama genre which takes significant influence from Godfather. Mohanlal plays the role of the protagonist who is at first weary and reluctant to enter into his father's affairs. Like in Godfather the situation forces him into taking the mantle and gradually over the course of the film grows into the role. This transformation is done in a very convincing and nuanced way ultimately leading to the climax scene which is among the most iconic action sequences in Malayalam film history. Film is from an era where the scriptwriters took utmost care to flush out supporting characters who are also memorable in their own right. The roles played by Jagathy and Thilakan are prime examples for this. This is another role for Jagathy in which he plays a parasitic character with ambiguous affiliations. Some of his lines are as quotable as you could get ("Panikkare nambinaal....ujwalamaayirunnu prakadanam....").

Film is not uniformly great with some scenes that have not aged particularly well. It is supposed to be based on a real life character in Calicut town even though I cannot substantiate it. I would rank this film second among Joshi's filmography with 'Dhruvam' being his best. It is staggering to think that film got released very close to 'Kireedom' and both were super-hits as the following poster would suggest.

Rating: 4/5