They call it a bilingual and then come up with a film that looks like it has been set somewhere firmly in rural Karnataka with all the characters speaking Malayalam. Shikari is a bummer from the word go, and it gets worse and worse until it reaches a point of no-return.
Mammootty appears in a double role, that of a freedom fighter who waged a war against the British in a village called Manjanaduga, and a software engineer who had had his fill of money and urban life and who goes searching for truth. Both are essentially hunters in that the former had arrived in the village while a tiger was out on the rampage, and the latter is a hunter of reality.
Perhaps this might actually sound like an interesting theme for an enterprising film, but when it evolves on screen, it carries neither the vigor nor the enthusiasm that you would associate with it. Shikari is a half baked attempt at film making that dips its fingers into too many pots at a time, and the results are nothing short of atrocious.
The tale of love that it attempts to tell is not much interest generating stuff either. In fact, romance seems to have been caught in the wrong hands here. The worst scenes are those featuring the lead pair, where they are apparently making genuine attempts to express their affection for each other, and you keep asking yourself if you have missed out on the love.
As it all moves to a climax, you have an unbelievable revelation cast on your face, and though I'm sure its supposed to bring about an expression of disbelief on your face, all that it manages to produce is one of dismay. Well, the less said about it, the better.
Sometimes you wonder how careless they can be. Abhilash, the software engineer played by Mammootty has arrived at Manjanaduga, hoping to find the rest of the pages of a novel that he had been reading. The novel titled 'Shikari' is a manuscript we are told, and in a few scenes later, when he comes across a typewriter, he wonders aloud if this could have been the typewriter that the author used to write the novel!
I have seen Mammootty in much better roles in recent times, and this film would sadly be just a worthless addition to his filmography. Poonam Bajwa is strictly adequate, and Tini Tom and Suresh Krishna serve as harmless appendages; nothing more, nothing less.
Bilinguals are a bad idea if you ask me, especially if you plan to shoot the film in a cultural milieu and merely make the characters mouth a different language. Gone are the days when you would remain satisfied with a star show, and with the expectations of viewers shooting up like anything, filmmakers have no other choice but to remain on their toes.
And 'Shikari' is a film that gives bilinguals a bad name, and a real bad one at that.