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Malik: When God takes over the human colony

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Malik: When God takes over the human colony

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“We feel drawn into a film that has all the makings of a carnival but no real fireworks,” Srihari Nair notes after watching. Malik.

IMAGE: Fahad Faasil as Ahmaddali Suleiman in Malik.

Give Mahesh Narayanan Malik your absolute attention and you will be able to tell the difference between elegant, meticulous filmmaking and overly controlled filmmaking.

The fictional locale of Ramadapalli, which is the setting for Narayanan’s third film, has been carefully crafted. You can, for example, feel the many sketches that must have gone into designing only the playground cleared of the landfill, which depicts the once non-religious but soon-to-be-Messiah Ahmaddali Suleiman (Fahad Faasil) at play. volleyball, surrounded by trash caps and discarded trash bags, and stopping between aisles to wave to his future wife, Roselyn (Nimisha Sajayan).

When a tsunami hits the fishermen’s community in Ramadapalli, Narayanan staged and photographed the rescue effort, as if to put us in the middle of the action. Fast footage from helicopters cuts to a shot of the beach, where we see people running to the nearest relief camp and stepping on the heads of dead bulls, now buried in the sand.

Outside the aid camp, tsunami winds are blowing, not hysterically (there isn’t that excessive howl you’re used to hearing in movies), but in the right tone.

Based on the outstanding footage of the 2009 Bimapally shooting in which six Muslims were killed, we see the body of a child being dragged along the beach by police.

However, it is characteristic of Narayanan that most of his energy was spent on drawing effects and mounting scenery, that he did not bother to develop his characters – for him they are mythical in design. And the whole gamut turns out: a kind-hearted and socially conscious don, a helpless wife, a snitch, a two-time politician, an honest bureaucrat who does more harm than good, and other invisible string pullers.

IMAGE: Fahad Faasil with Nimisha Sajayan, who plays his wife Roselyn.

As with his first film, Take off, and here Narayanan puts on a show, but beyond that, we get the experience of pre-digested footage in which the actors were offered no respite or opportunity to contribute. Consequently, they bring nothing to their roles and this martinet control, coupled with Sanu John VarugeseOverly precise camera movements make the film’s style sinister and ominous.

There is no sense of opening in the scenes, especially the back and forth scenes, where ideally you want to see how the actors react to each other, you want to watch mismatched energies coexist without being held back, and Narayanan switches hard from one subject another.

This makes the 12-minute uncut video seem like pure gimmick at the beginning. During those 12 minutes, the camera barely rests for a second, but there is no point in being nervous because all the performers are moving and talking to the recorder: there is no behavior on the display; as if everyone is just coming to justify his or her stern expression.

From this moment on, we get several illustrations of tense staged moments – the arrest of Ahamaddali Suleiman before his flight to the Hajj; Ramadapalli in a state of boiling; a state-sponsored plan to execute a diabetic messiah while he is still in police custody. We wait for the backstory, and Suleiman’s mother (Jalaja, whose sad, sad face becomes the spirit of this pompous story) arrives to tell the first part of this story to her son’s would-be killer.

Mom talks about being deprived of childhood and constantly rising and does not miss even the dirty details of Suleiman’s sex life (“How can she know so much?” You ask. Probably, since “mother knows everything”). It doesn’t matter that Mom goes beyond privacy, because by then you understand the game Mahesh Narayanan intends to play: he’s found a neat way to tie the Bimapally incident to the arc of the ups and downs of every regular gangster photo.

The transitions between timelines occur three times: modern events are aimed at increasing tension, and memories are aimed at causing fainting.

IMAGE: Jalaja as Jamila, Suleiman’s mother.

The musical selection is broken down into strict labels (“uplifting music”, “techno music”, “groovy music”, “dark music”). There are sudden transitions that portend jealousy and betrayal. All this and yet you feel nothing.

Random pleasures, such as the image of little Suleiman feeling sick after his first solo sea voyage, even when his mother runs after him to spank him, decrease with each frame.

I heard actor Vinay Forth proudly say in a promotional interview that there is no “humor” in the film – as if climactic lines and being involved in a slapstick comedy are all there is to the term.

The fact is that when you give the elements of body art complete free will, when you allow the details to organically collide, you bring to the screen a set of contradictions welded off the page, gleaned from life. This is not a metaphysical axiom, but the basic common sense of filmmaking, and I believe Clive James was right when he suggested that “humor is basically common sense, a dance.”

And that’s what’s missing in Malik – some key stages of the film production itself. We feel drawn into a movie that has all the makings of a carnival but no real fireworks. You see wonderful footage of the garlands set up for the festival and other preparations going on inside the mosque, but there is no joy to be found here.

Outwardly, the only section of lasting joy is the one where Suleiman and his gang go to Dubai, get rich and get drunk in excess, but even there you expect some smallest, but bright features, some unexpected turns and light touches; you are left desperately waiting for some little things that do nothing for the story, but convey the atmosphere of the story and how time (the late 1980s) affects what happens in the story.

Comparisons with Godfather perhaps inevitable, but Coppola’s film was not only about deceit and deceit. It was also about those tarantellas, those football weddings, those little girls dancing on old people’s feet. The horror and sensuality of this film came from the fact that both “meatball cooking” and “suffocating” were approached with the same level of intensity (and that’s how they took on dimensions missing from Mario Puzo’s source material).

In this decidedly solemn event, with the exception of Vinay Fort, whose David starts from Tom Sawyer to Huck Finn Suleiman, and later, when his friend begins to pose as Jesus, turns into Judas, Narayanan extracts lifeless ideas from almost everyone. .

Fahad Faasil turns brisk walking into a routine, shooting death rays at the camera and saying something that will please diaper Marxist hearts, and I couldn’t help laughing every time he got into this routine.

I think Mahesh Narayanan was just doing the trendy thing by saying in pre-release interviews that the characters in Malik “gray” because Suleiman is the whitest person Fahad has ever been; it is also his weakest performance to date.

I have always believed that the transition from Mammootty and Mohanlal to Fahad is comparable to the transition from theological books to the novel. The two Misses may have played flawed protagonists in their careers, but with a few exceptions, the endings of their films were predictable: one way or another, you had to side with the protagonist. They also presented their texts to St. Augustine or Thomas Aquinas, in which the last sympathy of the reader for the all-good and all-powerful God was formed.

In Fahad, you had the feeling that you were moving from the time of Thomas Aquinas to the time of Melville, you were moving towards the question: “What if God did not have omnipotent and omnipotent? In terms of his skill, you always felt that Fahad had *more time* than the other actors, but most importantly, he was on his way to reshaping the main character into a completely new form.

And if the interviews that begin by proclaiming him an “All India Star” and then slip to a conclusion about his “Process” (and thus destroy his unconsciousness) weren’t enough, now we have Mahesh Narayanan trying to portray the actor as one one of those NGO-level messiahs who always seem to be in a hurry to “do good”.

You might argue that Vito Corleone was a prude on some level too, but with Vito you also got the fullness of personality: his business intelligence, his insight, his personal yet comprehensive sense of justice, the pressure tactics he was able to use were everything was revealed to you, albeit in pieces.

AT Malik, you don’t even know if the negative impressions that people have about Ahamaddali Suleiman are gospels or gossip; as for the man, he seems more self-proclaimed and delusional than intuitive. And Fahad plays Suleiman from head to toe; he is all in a beard, and in weight, and in tired eyes, but there is not even a shadow of earth, blood, humanity in him.

Planning and executing grandiose and complex technical feats and a general lack of interest in people, which manifests itself as a lack of interest in actors, is probably the outstanding quality of Mahesh Narayanan – I believe Take off suffered for it.

Although the plot of his second directorial work, See you soonwas practically bullshit, you were taken in by these compelling flashbacks of the characters acting in front of their gadgets, their typing and retyping messages, and their shy listening in front of digital screens.

The relationship that Narayanan people share with their devices is clearly more intimate than the one they share with each other; hence my hunch that the documentary is about the making Malik may have more vitality and juice than the film itself. They can be a source of interesting filming, but as a viewer, the impersonality of Mahesh Narayanan’s films leaves you in a state of dramatic vacuum.

That’s why the arguments that he wants to make, for example, that minorities push around for political gain, just burn your scalp, and do not pierce you. You want to know how Muslims and Latinos live, how the various threads of their existence connect and diverge, you want to know about their particular types of lawlessness, and you get none of that in this movie.

Betrayals don’t hurt because the sense of everyday turmoil and randomness from which betrayals arise has been recycled into something mundane and structured.

But the saddest thing is that you don’t know what to do with Suleiman constantly screaming about Ramadapalli; you don’t understand this supernatural connection to the land he claims.

You are unmoved because you realize that although Mahesh Narayanan has come up with a tale of intricate structures and winding paths, of murders at feasts and disorder at funerals, his dwellings, cathedrals and cemeteries are equally devoid of human contact.

Presentation: Ashish Narsale/rediff.com

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