Expectations didn't exactly skyrocket when Major Ravi announced his new project Karmayodha with Mohanlal in the lead. Kandahar was the nadir; naturally it was bound to be a herculean task for him to win back the confidence of fans, let alone the average film buff. Major's intention to focus upon the ever mushrooming evil of flesh trade and human trafficking for sexual exploitation, is commendable. Given the immense relevance of the theme to our times the director could not have hoped for a better comeback vehicle. Intentions were well and good, but the end product proved to be a shot that missed the bull's eye and is a movie that is good only in parts.
Maverick encounter specialist Madhava Menon aka Mad Maddy played in his inimitable style by Mohanlal, is brutal and uncompromising when it comes to dealing with criminals and perverted anti social elements, who treat women as commodities and objects of pleasure and a means to earn some quick bucks. A sharp shooter who leaves no stone unturned to ensure that, price is paid once and for all, by the delinquent and hideous criminals, out to destroy the peaceful life of people. He is particular that the honour of women must never be staked.
The movie begins on a promising note, delineating the Mad Maddy style of operation, which involves no half measures. He has as many adversaries as there are admirers in Mumbai police because of his bizarre and hot headed ways. He is a nightmare for criminals, who live in mortal fear of being shot down by this guy from any unknown corner with his sharp shooting skills. As he goes about his unenviable task in Mumbai the crime capital of India with single minded focus, he is saddled with a particular kidnap case, which mysteriously acquires paramount importance for him. In pursuit of the kidnapped and on the trail of abductors he is forced to leave Mumbai to Kerala. Fast paced first half with slick shots and crisp editing ends on an expectant note, leaving the viewer yearning for more.
As he embarks on his tough mission Maddy realizes that the web is too complicated and that he has witnessed only the tip of the iceberg. With the aid of Kerala Police and his close friends in the higher echelons of the department, he hits the road to get to the bottom of the matter and rescue the innocent girls who are trafficked to far away and remote places in Kerala and Tamilnadu. Maddy's mission is more than official and altruistic, and that is the crux of the plot. Whether he succeeds in his attempt forms the rest of narrative.
The problem with Karmayodha is that it fails to deliver after a promising start. The makers don't seem certain that whether to package it as a family drama or an out and out action thriller. As a result it ends up as neither. Towards the climax the film loses steam as things get predictable and shrill. The effort of director to pander to fans of Mohanlal falters, as scenes concocted to that end, look anachronistic and jaded.
The dialogues written for Mohanlal too don't evoke the desired result and don't necessarily enhance his heroism. One-liners don't have the necessary thrust with most of them getting submerged in the loud BGM. Scenes become too dramatic and monotonous as the director strives to deliver the knockout punch in the climax. The long drawn out climax fight between the protagonist and the main villain who sticks out like a sore thumb is a case in point. Loopholes in the script are too numerous and the director has not fully managed to iron out all the creases.
As far performances are concerned, Mohanlal rules roost from start to end. He carries this movie on his broad shoulders which don't droop even a moment, and it is only his amazing screen presence and subtle expressions which ensure that movie is not a total let down. Rest of the cast including Mukesh, Saikumar, Sukumari etc. along with Bineesh Kodiyeri, Riyas Khan and other young actors look just about adequate. Asha Sharath who plays the role of hero's wife doesn't have too much screen space, but has not let herself down. Murali Sharma the psychopathic main villain and his voluptuous aide portrayed by Tamil seductress Sona have managed to evoke revulsion in the viewers.
Technically the film lives up to the high standards that all the previous movies of Major have been noteworthy for. M.G.Sreekumar continues with his mediocre composition and it is high time that the veteran singer thought that whether music direction is his forte.
Although Karmayodha can be called the second best effort from Major since his maiden venture Keerthichakra, at best it ends up as strictly average. When news about gang rapes, incestuous relations, molestations and sexual perversions are numbing our senses, with fear evoking frequency and regularity, Karmayodha could be termed as timely, and may very well end up as an average grosser.