They say, without a striking clincher, the spectacular build up simply isn't worth much. Shaji Kailas' Drona talks a lot about what is to take place, and much to our chagrin, not a thing happens.
It has to be accepted that Drona is one of the best attempts by Shaji Kailas in recent times. This is unlikely to work in the film's favor though, because the last few of his cinematic outings have been anything but comparable. But the director who had flashed those sparks of brilliance some years back, and who had since disappeared into the shadows is out again in Drona. The film accentuates that all is not lost and the man still has got it in him.
What is it then, that works against this film? It is a real slow starter for one, and it's quite some time before things get gripping. Even then, the kicks that it delivers are not strong enough, and there is always a sense of something seriously lacking throughout. Soon it becomes pretty evident that what is missing is a passion that sometimes makes even the most mediocre of works appear outstanding.
When it comes to the account, there are some grave lapses in continuity that absolutely flusters the viewers. The flashbacks are in abundance and are arranged in a slapdash style, and with the present and past continually intertwining, the logical string that binds them all together eventually gets severed.
Singly though, the past almost appears out of the world in Drona, and Shaji has crafted the scenes with elegance. Thankfully those technical ploys that had almost become a trademark in his films are kept to the minimum here. Ekambaram's camera slithers around like a snake, never letting spookiness out of sight. And of course Don Maax too, who with his slick editing ensures that murder and mayhem could look modish as well.
A K Sajan juggles between a gory tale of revenge and a mystic story that brims over with vedic chants and black magic. It's here that the film loses its grip; there are too many of those crooks and their henchmen to tackle and a screaming ghost to boot. It appears a bit overblown after a while, even as the script goes on with its sermons on Vastu and the mantras and the divine laws of justice. Ultimately Drona is neither the horror caper that it seeks to be nor the action thriller that sends those flickers of excitement flying. The story fails, and massively so.
There is simply no beating Mammootty as Pattazhi Madhavan; garbed in saffron dhotis and long flowing kurtas with solid Rudraksha beads strung around his neck, this strapping sage has the might to burn you down with an intense gaze. Clout is not all about muscles, the actor reiterates.
There are equally competent thespians on the other side as well; Thilakan and Manoj K Jayan match up the lead actor's performance with impressive feats of their own. And last but very certainly not the least, Dhanya Mary Varghese in a special cameo turns out to be the most gorgeous blood thirsty spirit to have roamed around on screen.
Whether you like Drona or not depends a lot on what you look forward to, on your thriller night-out. The film sags down to tedium by the final reel, and by then its too late for a reversal of its (mis)fortunes. Most of the errors that it commits are fatal, and most of its flaws terminal.