Friday, May 17, 2013

Mumbai Police Movie Review: Prithviraj breaks the typical 'hero' mold, challenges sexual stereotyping

Exploring a completely different dimension in his latest film Mumbai Police, Director Rosshan Anddrews delivers a fast-paced, thriller film after his award winning fims such as Udayananu Tharam, Notebook and others.



To flesh out the script written by Boby Sanjay, Rosshan Anddrews ropes in actors such as Prithviraj, Rahman and Jayasurya to portray three police officers: Antony Moses, Farhan and Aryan respectively.

The story begins with a phone call that Antony Moses (starring Prithviraj) makes to Farhan (starring Rahman) saying that he has solved the murder mystery of Aryan (starring Jayasurya). Just as he says this, there is an accident and Antony Moses loses his memory. From then, Farhan's attempt is to take Antony through people and places that are likely to trigger his memory so that they can solve the murder of their close friend and colleague Aryan. A series of events happen, almost hurtling us towards it.

 And I am taking the liberty to hand out trophies for the following:

'Mumbai Police' - Brilliant background score by Gopi Sundar

Background score by Gopi Sundar delivers some path breaking moments. There is a fast paced run-chase scene where he majorly uses the notes of a veena alongwith other unlikely accompaniments. It is the kind of score that sends goosebumps on your skin the way it whips up the frenzied mood of the chase with a most beautiful, calming sound to your agitated nerves. Throughout this film, the background score impresses, breaks out of typical filmy molds and succeeds to grab your attention for what it is - a rarity that deserves to be acknowledged. 

'Mumbai Police' - Plays up the Navy vs Police Conflict very well

In this film, the conflict between the Navy personnel and the Kochi cops is played up well. I studied in the Indian Navy's school at Naval Base in Wellingdon Island, Kochi. The conflict between the Navy personnel and the Kochi cops was always apparent. There was an unspoken agreement that if you mess with the Navy personnel or their families, cops would get hit back by the Navy personnel badly. I am not sure but there was a story that is supposedly true (but there is no evidence or report to indicate that is true) was that a girl who was from Naval Base was physically harassed by Kochi cops and the Navy personnel retaliated  in a most brutal way. The buzz that many of us have heard was that the entire police station was ransacked, cops were beaten up and the specific cop was burned alive. No case was ever registered and from that incident, there has been a silent agreement between the Navy and the Cops that Navy territory cannot be interfered with at any cost even if they break the laws. As I said, all of these were Chinese whispers. No concrete evidence but the tensions were always apparent right there on the surface. 

'Mumbai Police' - Prithviraj's most outstanding performance

In Malayam 'new generation' films, a kind of sexual stereotyping is taking place. While the sexual traits of protagonists may interest the readers, many new generation Malayalam films treat 'sex' as the core of their film's substance. This film underplays it in the subtlest way to deliver a shocking blow to the audience towards the end. While I can confirm that a majority of young and old Malayalis are becoming liberal, this bold attempt to break sexual stereotyping of the male protagonist is not likely to be accepted. Trophy goes to Prithviraj who has probably taken the biggest risk in his career by portraying such a role. However, for the first time ever, I felt that Prithviraj as an actor, was totally uncomfortable in the last scenes that show his sexual encounters with his partner. Given the nature of the role, it is inevitable but still unexpected from an accomplished actor such as Prithvi.

Mumbai Police: Tough to connect these dots

1. Misleading title: Mumbai Police is a title that has no significance to the actual sequence of events in this film.

2. Dialogues lacked meaty substance. There’s not a single dialogue except maybe one or two that I can think of that is memorable at the end of the film.

3. Pace of the movie is a baffling. At times the movie is too fast. Then it turns very slow. Again it catapults you back into a fast pace. None of this goes easy on the clueless viewer and does not heighten the suspense or the entertainment quotient of this thriller film.

4. Lack of balance in characterizations. For instance, the roles played by Aparna and Shweta are so woefully short and they are fine actors. It is a mistake to rope in such fine actors and not use them to their full potential. At the same time,  it is appreciable supporting actors like Kunchan got ample opportunity to showcase acting talent through some emotional situations.

Among the three roles, I found Rahman’s most striking. He makes his presence felt and he portrays the role in an outstanding way despite the ridiculous dialogues that are given to him. An actor of his stature deserves better. While Jayasurya gets to play a very critical role throughout the film, somehow I, as an avid movie watcher, did not feel any connect. He was simply himself playing a role. I did not feel that he became the character that he was representing. A poor show from Jayasurya, who is an emerging fine actor with several outstanding performances in movies such as Cocktail and Beautiful.

My Verdict: Go watch this movie. It's going to shake you up, that's for sure. But look at the brighter side: you get to see some outstanding performances.


(Personal Confession: Rosshan Anddrews and I are from the same place - Palluruthy. In fact, we studied in the same school but we have never interacted at a personal level. My father told me that Rosshan Anddrews had inquired about me recently to a cousin of mine who's a friend of his. Secretly, I have to admit being flattered that such a fine film director asked for me! :) 

Another tiny tidbit is this: When Rosshan Anddrews had directed his first film Udayananu Tharam, I loved that film and wrote a detailed review of it on Petals! that was going out to a select group of my friends as a newsletter. From the official site of Mohan Lal that was run by his fans,  I had sent a copy to Mohan Lal and got a reply from Lalettan’s personal email id after two weeks. He wrote in saying that he had read my review, thanked me for it and told me to correspond directly via his personal mail id anytime. Whoa, that was unforgettable! Still a cynical side of me did wonder whether it was all PR generated. But then I thought - it's more important to look at the positive response than at anything else. That’s also when I decided to take Petals! more seriously and change it into a blog rather than a newsletter.)

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Unlock your Child's Leadership Potental

Today, I stumbled on to one of Adi's closely guarded secrets. It turns out that Adi is the founder of Adi's Team in his class!

Maybe this is no big deal. Sounds a little silly. 

But these are the milestones that I want to celebrate as a mother. That my son has formed a team, identified and trusted a select group of very special friends conveys to me more about his potential than any school report or record. 

When I probed further, I discovered that Adi has even rolled out specific designations and functions for each friend. He gets them to obey his directions. Each day, he allots them a priority to get done. 

How does he know what needs to get done? Well, he's more organized than I am. He actually keeps the list and designations on a sheet of paper that he shares only with his dad. Poor Mom (read ME) is kept in the dark. 

But finally Adi showed me the list. Guess what? My heart did a flip! I spotted one girl's name out of all the boys he's listed. Ahem, and her designation is: Master of the Team! And Adi's the Creator. I am now seriously worried about what functions follow next!

Looking at the brighter side of life, I am happy that my son is already practicing inclusion of diversity in his all-male team and giving the lady an upper hand in terms of designation as well.

There's amazing leadership potential in every child. Let's help our children to unlock it.

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