In Shaji Kailas' 'August 15', the Chief Minister of Kerala (Nedumudi Venu) escapes an assassination attempt, and hotshot cop Perumal (Mammootty) is called in to investigate. Realizing that the CM was poisoned, Perumal decides to nab the assassin before he has another go at the CM's life.
What has backfired in 'August 15' is the lack of a clear cut ploy that is intriguing enough to keep you glued to the screen. Yes, the CM's assassination attempt is matter enough to craft some thrilling material, but the writing is often downright lackluster that you realize that Swamy is nowhere near his prime any more.
There is one particular scene where an exasperated Perumal, fires a series of bullets on to a wall that has been plastered with several possible pictures of the assassinator. Light floods in through the cracks on the wall. The entire investigation is punctured with similar loopholes, and a lack of logic runs all along. Some scenes are downright silly as well. It's quite odd, when Perumal gets up at the middle of the night and starts surfing Wikipedia for 'poison' entries.
The political standpoint that 'August 15' adopts, is slightly different in that it is not Chief Minister-obsessed as is the usual case. It talks of the alleged faction war in the Communist Party, and suggests that nothing is actually as wrong as it is being depicted by the media. All is well, says the CM and the Party Secretary (Saikumar).
The script has been stuffed with potentially suspicious characters, and these minor character portrayals are nothing but tiny disasters. Take for instance Aravindan (Jagathy Sreekumar), who hogs plenty of screen space towards the beginning of the film. The slightly strange personality attributes that this man is endowed with makes him the focus of attention for a while. What bothers us then, is the way he fizzles out with a trace not much later.
Another major disappointment is the climax that happens on August 15, and the makers have gone for a scene change as such, perhaps taking into consideration the pains of shooting on a parade ground. It's not the change in scenario that ends up being unsatisfactory, but the way it all ends. Swamy doesn't stop even with the assassin out of the picture. He drags in a further twist that looks and sounds like an appendage that has been severed off, and yet hangs on to the main part for its dear life.
Perumal has softened up a bit; matured perhaps. But then, this isn't a character that you know inside out, like Sethurama Iyer. He drinks gin, we are told, and has turned a bit flirtatious. He pays a fine for not wearing a helmet while driving. He doesn't have an office or personal staff, and of course he rides a Bullet. Mammootty is the man in action here, and no prizes for guessing that as Perumal, he looks swell! Siddiq and Saikumar are the two other actors worth a mention.
In 'August 15', the techniques of film making have moved forward by leaps and bounds, while the writing is still stuck at primitive level. It's doubtful if history would repeat itself, but Swamy needs to spice up his writing skill real quick, lest it becomes history.