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Roudram, strictly for Mammootty's fans
Paresh C Palicha

Mammootty in a still from Roudram.
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February 01, 2008 12:46 IST

People like to celebrate longevity -- birthdays, wedding anniversaries and silver jubilees. Likewise, it is a mater of celebration for an actor to be donning a character for the twenty-fifth (or is it twenty-sixth?) time.

The USP of director Renji Panicker's second Malayalam film, Roudram is that Mammootty is playing a cop for the twenty-fifth time in his career. Other than that, the film offers nothing new. In fact, the film gives us a sense of deja vu, reminding us of Renji Panicker in his prime as a writer.

As for the subject, the director has weaved a story taking all the political events happening in the state in the last few months and put his hero at the centre of it. As the hero, he is the same as we expect him to be -- a low ranking officer from the state cadre; an honest, stubborn man spewing fire with his words. He has scant regard for his corrupt superiors and does not mind giving them a piece of his mind at every given opportunity.

Narendran aka Nari (Mammootty) is the Assistant Commissioner who is given the charge of investigating a murder that happened outside a lodge in Fort Kochi. The deceased was supposed to have connections with the ganja planters of the state. During the course of the investigation, some bigwigs including his superiors and political masters come under police scrutiny. The rest of the film shows how Nari overcomes the hurdles and teaches everyone involved, a lesson.

If you are looking for any kind of novelty in this film, you will be royally disappointed. Everything from the narrative structure to the vague profile of the protagonist remains unchanged except for a spark here and there.

Even the good and bad supporting characters are stereotypes -- the corrupt man with a soft corner for the hero (Lalu Alex), an advocate-wife who left her practice to take care of a sick child, and the CM who is a puppet in the hands of a caucus. The only comic relief is in the form of a superior officer played by Rajan P Dev.

Mammootty tries to rise above the script with little success. He mouths lines in Malayalam as well as English and also translates them all the time. He confronts his adversary with a pistol or bare fists to win an argument or simply to prove a point.

In the end, Roudram is a film suffering from verbal diarrhoea (a phrase coined by Renji himself as the scriptwriter in Sthalathe Pradhana Payyans ages ago) and little action.

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