Mr. Fraud Malayalam Movie Review
B Unnikrishnan's 'Mr.Fraud' is a tedious robbery exercise that is sappy and downright predictable. Stuffed with redundant songs and a sentimental family track that looks way out of place, the film that initially promises to be an edge-of-the-seat action caper ends up being a wannabe thriller sans any real kicks or buzz.
So here is a Kovilakam where quite a lot of Varma Seniors fought with each other for a treasure stacked inside their Nilavara. Following a court ruling, the Nilavara is closed for about four decades and finally the day arrives for it to be opened yet again. The new generation of Vermas (Siddique, Devan, Vijaya Kumar and P Balachandran) are not any better, and neither are their kids (Suresh Krishna, Rahul Madhav, Pallavi Purohit), Rajeev Parameshwar), and they cross swords with each other as the D-day approaches.
Meanwhile, the first among equals, a much astute conman who is called Bhaiji (Mohanlal) by his assistants in crime, Abbas (Vijay Babu) and Priya (Manjarai Phadnis), gets ready for the last assignment in his illustrious career. Egged on by Nikki (Dev Gill), Bhaiji plans to break into the Nilavara In a seemingly impossible mission, and disguised as an assets evaluator Siavaram, he furtively enters the Kovilakam for the ultimate burglary.
There is a whole lot of gizmo talk and Bhaiji even does a lot of computations on a virtual screen, before finding the perfect match to the key to the Nilavara. Abbas and Priya gape on in amazement like the rest of us in front of the screen.
Logic can go take a walk, as far as 'Mr.Fraud' is concerned. Questions abound and no answers are provided whatsoever. How do you expect an entire clan of ex-Thamburans to be morons who wouldn't double check the identity of an assessor? How do you expect to have a Nilavara with a treasure inside that is worth of thousands of crores, with not a sentry man posted at its door? Going by the way Bhaiji walks in and out of it in the middle of the night, you would think there is not a soul within sight. It doesn't make sense to suggest that no questions need to be asked in a story as this, since these cavernous gaps in the tale are called loopholes and the plot is littered with plenty of them.
The mother with the sewing machine makes a reentry into Malayalam films with 'Mr.Fraud', though we get to see her in just about a couple of scenes. And the Mohiniyattam dancers who had made a silent exit some time ago, are back with a vengeance as well. As for the fight sequences, the scene abounds with the flying villains who had almost turned extinct.
'Mr.Fraud' does reveal the superhero within, in short flashes, in his interaction with the deity within the Nilavara, in being the savior to the (only) one good man around, and in flirting with the damsel who seems least impressed. He is a man who lives with a regret, hasn't had an easy childhood and yet one who had made it real big in this world.
There are three women who make their presence felt in the film; that is on rare occasions when Bhaiji isn't around. There is Damini (Pallavi Purohit), the crafty seductress with a 24 x 7 pout on and of course Priya (Manjari Phadnis) whose long legs do most of the talking. Saraswati (Mia George) has a slight advantage over the other two, in that she gets to mouth a few decent lines of dialogues at least.
The best thing about Mohanlal in 'Mr.Fraud' is, as Damini points out, the hot salt 'n pepper look that he sports as Sivaram. The actor looks charming and is remarkably at ease playing the role, and we get to see three faces of the actor on screen, though the tagline claimed that here was a man with many faces. Siddique is seen in a prominent role as well.
The worst in 'Mr.Fraud' arrives in the form of two songs - one which happens right at the beginning, when Bhaiji dressed as a pop musician John Cliff robs a millionaire, and the other one which turns up right at the very end when he presents a fusion number much to our chagrin. And the deafening background score is equally appalling as well.
On rare occasions, when Bhaiji gets into a philosophical mode, he explains to Abbas and Priya, that they should not, in any case, carry on with an emotional baggage in tow. Leave it right there, and move on, he says. Guess we should do that as well; leave Mr.Fraud to his exasperating business and get on with our lives.