This one is a much needed quencher to the thirst at the Kerala box office. A commercial potboiler rides itself on a very thin storyline that you cannot even call it wafer thin. The movie rides itself only on star power. Pokkiri Raja caters to the 'C' category audience.
The film is directed by debutant Vysash Abhraham, who earlier assisted ace directors like Joshy and Johny Antony.
This film brings together Mammootty, the superstar of Malayalam films (a recent survey found him the most popular Malayalee beating Mohanlal and Resul Pookutty) and the most touted replacement to the superstar status Prithviraj. These big and busy stars were sure a nightmare in terms of dates and schedules. Kudos to the director on this accomplishment. This film has a melange of actors right from the main leads to the supporting cast.
The story starts off showing two feuding families that is the Kunnathu family up against Puthiyara family. The Kunnathu family is headed by Madhavan Nair (Nedumudi Venu), a much respected teacher who doesn’t compromise with his ideals and reputation. Madhavan Nair has two sons Raja (Mammootty) and Surya (Prithviraj). As a result of the feud, Raja (a teenager at that time) is falsely implicated in a murder and sent away to a juvenile home.
This incident strains relationships between Madhavan Nair and his eldest son Raja. Hence Raja leaves for Madurai where he becomes a self-styled goon after his sentence at the juvenile home.
Now in the present, Surya (Prithviraj) has to bear the brunt of the feud. Madhavan Nair sensing more menace from the Puthiyara family sends Prithviraj to stay with sister Rukmani and brother-in-law Sugunan (Suraj Velarmudmom) who is the sub-inspector of police in Ernakulam.
In Ernakulam Surya meets Ashwathi (Shriya Saran) and falls for her and also crosses paths with her father the commissioner of police (Siddique).
We are at just about the interval when an old Madhavan Nair approaches his elder son and goon Pokkiri Raja (Mammootty) to help save the younger son Surya from the discrimination by the commissioner to back off from daughter Ashwathi’s life.
Pokkiri Raja enters and the rest of the story decides if the couple is really meant for each other and whether the strained relation of the father and son becomes better.
This film's storyline and narration could be compared to a Vijay flick. The magnanimity of Mammootty’s character is evident; however he seems to be fist-fighting, though he has his bouncer henchmen who are mere spectators to his bashing.
The character’s not so correct English provides some comic relief. Though the film belongs to Mammootty, his presence is only in the later half of the film. Each entry he makes starts with him drifting in his blue Beamer. His age is evident with the few wrinkles near his eyes in close-up shots.
Prithviraj’s role seems quite powerful until the entry of Mammootty. From then on, he is just the weakling who gets bashed and kidnapped to provide scope for Mammootty to act at the moment. Prithvi has personified his looks and sculpted his body which sure will set mouths ajar and whistles galore.
Shriya is the usual and just adds the beauty quotient to the film. She has nothing much to do in the film than showing off her beauty. The others in the cast have just done their work - nothing that stands out.
The comedy attempts are a let down and rather boring to watch. Malayalam filmdom needs fresh writers and not the ones rewriting the same scenes replayed in different locations.
The dialogues are so clichéd and set out hoots in the theatre. To highlight one from the lot, Prithviraj bashes up a set of heavily built men and says “next time you come to bash me" – there is a pause and the camera shows the men all fallen and Prithviraj with a cool smile and the dialogue continues – “get an ambulance”. The director sure wanted to achieve the so called “punch dialogue” however it sounded comical.
The locales are not of much relevance; the film never showcases any beautiful scene or place since the portrayal is more on the action. The cinematography by Shaji and editing by Mahesh Narayanan should have been given more time and detail.
The action and dance choreography was the focus of the film and has done justice. The effects used to make Mammootty moonwalk were convincing.
The music by Jassi Gift was a total letdown.
Vyshak Abraham seems to have struggled to meet all ends in his directorial debut.
Pokkiri Raja would have raked in at the box-office but the question is where Malayalam films and audience are headed. Malayalam cinema always stood out for its slice out of life realism but now it’s just taking a beating and people are just headed to make a fast buck. However filmmaking is a laborious and expensive task, so salute to the crew and cast.