Stars may be notoriously tardy, but Malayalam actor Mohanlal isn’t one of them. At 9 am on Thursday morning, the actor was right on time as he walked the red carpet at the Star Cinemas in Dubai ahead of the world premiere for his ambitious fantasy epic ‘Malaikottai Vaaliban.’
However, he didn’t waste time drumming up buzz for his film and went straight to his seat to watch it along with select guests. The award-winning actor, dressed in a monochromatic black shirt and jeans, was accompanied by his wife, Suchitra Mohanlal, producer Antony Perumbavoor, and UAE distributor Ahmad Golchin from Phars who stayed until the end of the film.
Directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, ‘Malaikottai Vaaliban’ chronicles the adventures of an indestructible “warrior of all seasons” (Mohanlal). Banking highly on the seasoned actor’s star power, the fictional fantasy film begins like a fable of a physically strong man who can single-handedly take down his detractors. In the opening scenes, the titular character is described as someone who’s defeated the people of the East, West, North, and South with his might. Set at a time when bullock carts were the mode of transport and duels filled with armed combats were a mainstay, ‘Malaikottai Vaaliban’ transports you to a world of yore.
Be warned, the pace of the film is meditative and lacks the usual urgency displayed in director Pellissery’s earlier works. The first half of the film is all about showcasing the lead character’s indefatigable greatness and impossible might before it gets to the actual business. He’s this wandering wrestler who goes about destroying all those who dare him to fight.
Despite being a great creative experiment, the movie doesn’t always land and takes time to warm up. But if you are a hardcore Mohanlal fan, then such blips might not underwhelm you.
This is the first collaboration between Pellissery and Mohanlal, who has thrived in Malayalam cinema for over four decades. The film also features Dubai-based Marathi actress Sonalee Kulkarni. She plays the bodacious dancer Rangapattinam Rangarani, who captures Vaaliban’s heart. The ensemble cast also boasts comedian Danish Sait, Hareesh Peradi, Manoj Moses, and Katha Nandi.
Sait is on call to play the evil antagonist Chamathakan. The sumptuous cinematography is by Madhu Neelakandan, who adds his expertise to bring alive the fantasy film, while the music by Prashant Pillai is the perfect foil.
Did you know?
‘Malaikottai Vaaliban' is out in UAE cinemas now