Wednesday, December 16, 2015

ഒരു സിബിഐ ഡയറിക്കുറിപ്പ്‌ (Oru CBI Diary Kurippu) (1988)

Director: K Madhu
Writer:    S. N. Swamy
Cast:       Mammootty, Suresh Gopi, Jagathi Sreekumar
Language: Malayalam

The film revolves around a suspicious case of suicide which gets handed over to CBI after it has been declared as a case of suicide by the state Police department. 

The plot-line of the film was crafted around a real life incident, the Polakkulam case, in which a hotel employee was the victim. It was investigated by the CBI and was the first instance where humanoid dummy experiment was done in the state to prove a murder case. The lead character Sethurammayar CBI, played by Mammootty, is inspired by a real-life IPS officer named Radha Vinod Raju. The film came out in 1988 and the dummy segment was immediately spoofed by Sreenivasan and Mohanlal in their own comedic CID franchise  'Pattanapravesham', which also came out later that year. You got to admire the turn around time of Malayalam films in those days as both Mammootty and Mohanlal had 12 films releasing in 1988. Guess they didn't believe much in post-production. 

Film can be best described as a police investigative procedural which was hugely admired for how different it was when compared with films that came prior to this. There was no flab in it in terms of having typical entertainment elements like songs, elaborate stunts. verbal diarrhea from the lead and things like that. The sole focus of the film was the central investigation and the Malayalee audience, familiar with Sherlock Holmes stories, lapped it up. It was also quite popular in Madras/Chennai with it running for more than 200 days, an achievement that was replicated by only one Malayalam film since then, with Premam recently completing 200 days there. I don't consider it as a great mystery film since they are best done when at least some of the audience could figure out the twist by themselves by following the clues. That is not the case with this film or any of the other films that came out in this franchise since. A common complaint regarding these films are that S N Swamy could literally have some random person from the crowd as the culprit during the end twist portion of the film. There have been three other films released since then in this franchise and a fifth one is on its way. The second one, Jagratha, was also very good while the third one was quite average and the fourth one being quite terrible. 

Originally, the character was conceived as a tough cop named Ali Imran but it was Mammootty who convinced the director and writer that a pious intelligent Tamil Brahmin would be better. That is what makes the film stand out from other films in this genre with the lead using brain rather than brawn to solve cases. One could say that Mohanlal's character from Company owes a little bit to this character even though I am not sure about whether RGV had watched this film. The mannerisms that Mammootty brought to the table, accompanied with Shyam's excellent signature background score, were so effective that the audience were taken aback when he sparingly uses physical force during some instances. To sum up, it is a great watch and is quite a unique franchise when it comes to Indian cinema. 

PS: The actor Prathapachandran is now best remembered for his role in this film with an iconic line of his being memed quite frequently these days.

Rating: 4/5