From Uyarangalil to Devasuram, the Malayalam film buffs were fortunate enough to witness quite a handful of classic anti-hero performances from the superstar Mohanlal. Unfortunately, Lal’s newly released revenge thriller Kanal, has not scored anywhere near his own erstwhile masterpieces, despite an attempt from the director to maintain the realistic aspect from the beginning to the very end. By refraining from action scenes the director did his best to bring in that Hollywood style craft. On the scripting side the exaggerated dependence on ‘fate’ to narrate the story is questionable. In Shikkar, S. Suresh Babu’s previous attempt with Padmakumar&Lal, the strong moments in the script managed to overcome the shortcomings. In this fragile script, very few moments can be termed as strong.

A ‘hyperlink’ or non-linear approach now commonly adopted in the so called new generation films would have been more appropriate.This could have avoided the time the script took to come to the core of the film. However, any approach would have cut ice only with a more logical and realistic suspense. It seems that references to Marquez and Oshoin dialogues were futile attempts to categorize the movie to a different level. In an attempt to defend his cruel wrongdoing the character Kuruvilla Mathew (AtulKulakarni) often resorts to ‘justice of jungle’ philosophy. The scriptwriter sorely misses the point that ‘discretion’ is what separates the men from the beast, or that is what he is expected to convey as a responsible filmmaker.

Without narrating a solid reason for enmity with the father-in-law of the hero played by the yesteryearstar Jose, no sane viewer will be able to appreciate such a ghostly act by the two businessmen performed by PrathapPothen (Hill Top, Raghuvettan) and AtulKulakarni (Kuruvilla Mathew). The script also failed to substantiate any criminal backgrounds of the two accused families. The viewers wereleft wondering, whether helping others in their hour of need was the right way to go.  In other words, the ghastly act was inspired by a hyped-up reason, which was tough for the viewers to swallow.  Apart from Lal’s stellar presence, the other positive of the film was Anoop Menon’s ( journalist Anantharaman) effort to match the star. The past of Anantharaman was more credible and the viewers could easily relate to it but when it was linked to the past of John David, it turnedout to be nothing but heights of illogic brutality for the sake of doing something different. On the other side, the camera cranked by Vinodillampally, managed to capture the beauty of Qatar to the best possible extent. Director Padmakumar seemed to miss the trick after the success of Shikkar. It’s time for him to exercise more caution in selecting the scripts.

Under the current social circumstances, where crime rates are growing higher after each passing day, it’s time for the film makers to think twice before falling back to heights of brutality to thrill the audience. The superstar’s weird choice of characters is another reason to worry, although with his talent he can do justice to any kind of roles. In this film, the director tried his best towards the end to save the image of Lal by making Anoop Menon to declare that he was the real anti-hero in the film. However, it could hardly make sense to the viewers. The fans of the superstar not only want to see him in the big screen just for the sake of doing so ….it’s much more than that …in short, it should not be like superstar Saroj Kumar’s (Udayanannutharum) famous remark – its only about me and my face…nothing else matters.

Yes, Mohanlal would be the first person to accept this.