One movie review: Mammootty’s political drama is pleasant despite its problems

A movie star cast: Mammootty, Murali Gopi, Joju George, Siddique, Matthew Thomas
a film director: Santosh Vishwanath
Rating of a movie: 2.5 star

One decision to watch a movie on a streaming service from the comfort and safety of our home is that we are usually much more organized than we can be. We are a bit more forgiving and tolerant of the film, noting that we haven’t had to go through a lot of trouble going to the theater to see it. A question that baffles the minds of most film patrons is whether the film is worth their effort, money and time? Now, when we discount the first two parameters of this movie-going conundrum, we also appreciate a mediocre film, as opposed to outright hatred.

For example, Mammootty’s latest film, One, which debuted on Netflix on Tuesday. The marketing of the film promised us some political wastage, but what we were served instead were the good intentions of the filmmaker. After watching this film without much trouble at home, I can appreciate the messaging without complaining about how this film is such a useless occasion.

Kadakkal Chandran played by Mammootty is from a lower caste. Having devoted more than 37 years of his life to politics, he is still untouched by his profession. He does not want power for himself and is not greed. He is an idealist who knows where he comes from and where he is going. He is also safe enough to understand the dynamics of society. For example, he does not keep a student who asks him to get a haircut in jail. The student in question was meant to comment as an insult to the Chief Minister for being the son of a barber. In fact, many veteran politicians cannot digest the fact that a barber’s son holds the Chief Minister’s office in Kerala. But, Chandran wears his history and family legacy as armor, which saves him from tripping over his own ego.

There is a lot of political awareness in the writing of screenwriters Jodi Bobby and Sanjay. The film immediately acknowledges that politics is the last resort of miscreants but at the same time, it also denies being completely fanatical. According to the film, all it takes is a self-destructive politician to ignite the fuse of progressive reform.

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And Bobby and Sanjay want us to make iron in state politics. In Kerala, where there are rules of communist ideology, people cannot make a proletarian’s son the chief minister. The filmmakers also want us to discourage the obsession of the state, and how the benefits of repeated losses appear. It also emphasizes the fact that every political party has some honest members who want to bring change in the country. It also highlights the need for a leader to cut the umbilical cord with his political party after taking oath of a public office. In other words, the separation of church and state. However, the portrayal of director Santosh Vishwanath does not do justice to Bobby-Sanjay’s deep comments. Or did Bobby-Sanjay intentionally break his script to accommodate Hero-Pooja? It is hard to say.

For one, there are long build-ups for clear results and at times it becomes didactic. Also, what is Kadakkal Chandran’s head injury and his trouble with Smriti? Only Bobby-Sanjay and Santosh Vishwanath can tell us why they did not follow that sub-plot.

Despite its many followers, one is an enjoyable film to watch. It feels good for a change when a powerful person uses his power to fix the problems of the weak and poor with a single swing of his pen.

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