The much-awaited ‘Mahasamudram’ featuring Mohanlal in the title role is a bit of a letdown.
But then, megastars have to, once in a while, cater to the taste of their innumerable fans. This compulsion makes them play to the gallery. In ‘Mahasamudram’, that is exactly what Mohanlal has done. It is strictly a movie for Mohanlal fans.
Having said that, director S. Janardhanan could still have done a better job. This critic is of the view that in the hands of a better director, ‘Mahasamudram’ would have fared better. It was, so to speak, a maha waste of opportunity!
A word of caution to Mohanlal, too. Having done a slew of good, story-backed films like Thanmatra , Rasathantram and Keerthichakra , he should not have reverted to masala, larger-than-life roles, whatever the compulsions. That way lies the risk of courting the alienation of diehard fans.
If ‘Mahasamudram’ still strikes a slight responsive chord, it is thanks to Mohanlal who single-handedly carries the film. Others in the cast are, to put it mildly, onlookers. That includes heroine Laila, who looks totally out of place and out of depth. Perhaps, more than Laila, the director is to be blamed for the sorry state of affairs.
Be that as it may, ‘Mahasamudram’ is no unmitigated disaster either. The film has its high points: romance on the high seas, a gripping football match plus punchy dialogues mouthed by the hero. Incidentally, this is Mohanlal’s first attempt at playing the fisherman. No doubt, he has done well. But still, he suffers in comparison to Mammootty’s brilliant portrayal of the fisherman in ‘Amaram’ and the lover’s angst essayed by Madhu in that classic film, ‘Chemmeen’. But then, Janardhanan is no Ramu Karyat (director of ‘Chemmeen’) either!
Isahak (Mohanlal) is a fisherman with the heart in the right place. He is the pivot around which an old-age home run by a priest (Jagathy Sreekumar) revolves. Isahak bears the entire expenses of the home, one of whose inmates is his mentally ill father Velankani (Innocent). Incidentally, Isahak is also the star player of his football club called ‘Beach Eleven’ of Puthenkara. Their archrivals belonging to village Mattukara are named Seven Stars. Of course, Mattukara is under the control of the baddies like Riza Bava.
As it often happens, Isahak falls in love with Riza Bava’s sister Devi (Laila). The brother is not amused, and he vows to frustrate the lovers’ plans.
Unfazed, the lovers get married on the high seas and plan to spend their first night on the boat. Shades of Bollywood flick, ‘Parinda’, featuring Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit. The bride’s brother is bent on killing the newly-wed couple. But fate has other ideas. In the melee that follows, Devi accidentally kills her brother. She is arrested, and a heart-broken Isahak is left to fend for himself.
In another twist in the tale, the baddies of Mattukara kidnap Isahak’s father Velankani. Their condition for releasing him : Isahak should not play in the football match for ‘Beach Eleven’ in a tournament!
Meanwhile, Devi comes out of jail on parole. The denouement puts Isahak on the hors of a dilemma. He is caught between his wife and father. How does he resolve it is what the remaining story is about.
With the sea as the backdrop, ‘Mahasamudram’ could have become a film of epic dimensions a la ‘Chemmeen’. But ‘Chemmeen’ had ace cinematographer Marcus Battli. Shaji is not of the same class. Still, he has shot a few fabulous frames, especially of the football match climax.
M.Jayachandran’s music is above average. �Kando Kando… Kadal Kandittu� is a melodious duet that has the stamp of class. A chart-buster in the making.
‘Mahasamudram’ is Mohanlal’s Onam gift for his fans.