'Marakkar' review: Too many characters, slow first half, visual extravaganza
Right after Mohanlal's Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham finishes, you'll sit back and recount what you just went through. You will be left stunned by those enormous visuals, and the legend of Kunjali Marakkar stays with you. Marakkar sets the mood in the opening scene itself, where we see how Indians suffered during pre-independence due to the unfair tax impositions by the Portuguese. Here's our review.
Film is based on true events during the 16th century
As the name suggests, the film narrates the story of Kunjali Marakkar, a 16th century warrior who fought in the army of the Zamorin. At the beginning itself, makers have noted that the film isn't an accurate reflection of Marakkar, but a fictional adaptation of his life. Though the film has stunning visuals and great actors, the first half could have been better.
So many characters tossed and put together
The whole first half was spent in establishing various characters. And, there are SO MANY of them. You would find yourself trying to memorize their names, just like a student appearing for board exams. Also, most of the important sequences in the first half take place in dark environments. (For reference, it was like the The Long Night episode of Game Of Throne S08).
Second half is when the film actually starts
Like everyone else, I went to watch Marakkar with high hopes since it won so many trophies, including three National Awards. Director Priyadarshan takes us on a roller coaster ride, which gets enjoyable once you know the characters. The second half starts with a bang!
Except Mohanlal, everyone has small roles to play
We have a young Marakkar (Pranav Mohanlal) who is a playful mama's little boy, yet a sharp chap with a natural flair of a warrior. Then there is the mighty older Marakkar (Mohanlal), who has faced all the hardships life throws at him. Other actors—Suniel Shetty, Prabhu, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Keerthy Suresh, Manju Warrier, and Suhasini Maniratnam—have small roles in the film.
Arjun Sarja has an impactful presence though
Arjun Sarja, however, deserves a special mention. With his charisma and characterization, he has made an impactful presence. (Spoilers ahead) You will curse Marakkar under your breath for his hasty actions that takes away the life of Anandan (Sarja). He was so lovable that you would want to shake Marakkar and bring him back to senses during a particular sequence. Ugh!
Mohanlal made us feel for Marakkar even with poor dialogues
Not to mention, Mohanlal gets a lion's share of screen presence but for some reasons, I felt like an actor of his stature did not really deliver what his role demanded. With repeated lifeless dialogues, his character failed us at certain points. But I felt for Kunjali at the end of the film, so much so that I got tears in my eyes.
'Marakkar,' with stunning visuals, is a must-watch in theaters
On the whole, Marakkar is definitely worth watching on the big screen. The film scores huge for the jaw-dropping visuals and the brilliant story. It's an absolute delight to those who enjoy cinema especially as a visual medium. Pranav, though appeared only in few portions of the first half, steals the show. Verdict: Marakkar bags 4.5 stars. And, surely watch it in theaters.