Mammootty is a star who has tried to avoid falling into the image trap that other superstars find themselves in. So trust him to offer something different to his fans. In "Black: Man From The Darkness", which follows the stupendous success of his Onam release "Kazhcha" featuring him as a village simpleton forced to accept the insensitive and inhuman ways of the corrupt system, he does not disappoint.
In this Ranjith movie he is the ultimate of what a superhero should be: a man with steel body and iron fist who at the end does a vigilante act to clean up the muck of goondaism littering the urban landscape.
As is typical of Ranjith, who makes his protagonists superhuman and name them after the avatars of Hindu gods Shiva, Vishnu or their progenies, Mammootty's character in this film is Shanmughan, who mouths bombastic dialogues with as much finesse as he simultaneously deals with a dozen hoodlums.
"Black" is a character-driven film in a sense, as the story takes a backseat. Shanmughan is a street thug who, however, has extra-legal powers in that he is respected by people on both sides of the fence -- the law-keepers and the law-breakers. Everybody needs him for the smooth running of the system.
Shanmughan is a vividly sketched character with shades of grey, with white dominating black. To give a balance to the proceedings, the director has drawn a parallel character of Padividan Devin Carlos (Lal), a suave lawyer, (also in shades of gray, but here black dominating the white) at the high end of the criminal chain.
The two are friends and companions. Things take a turn for the worse when young police officer Ashok (Rehman) takes on himself the task of cleansing the city. Carlos kills him and the murder leads to a rift between Shanmughan and Carlos.
Technically, this film gives a docu-drama feel. The cinematography by debutant Amal Neerad is unintrusive and laid back. The background score by Rajamani is adequate.
Mammootty carries off his character with aplomb. It has been quite some time since the audience has seen such a stylised performance from him. Lal is a surprise -- the character suits him to the T, whether it is the exaggerated movements or the dialogue delivery.
TV channel SS Music's VJ Shriya is silent and subdued as a migrant Tamil lady, Anandam. Rehman gives an energetic performance as the young and idealist police officer in his comeback role.
"Black" was claimed to be a film about people without proper identity or address of the lower strata of the city. Ranjith does full justice to the claim. He adds in a few other elements as well to portray a city bursting at the seams.
Critic: Paresh C. Palicha
(3 / 5) : Good