Operation Java Malayalam Movie Review

Feature Film | 2h 26min
Balu Varghese and Lukman Lukku jump from one crime scene to the other to solve cybercrime and touch lives in the episodic 'Operation Java'. Tharun Moorthy's debut film excels in casting and the treatment of police work, but falls short in writing. Even if this series of operations never comes full circle at the end, it has its moments that make it worthwhile.
Feb 27, 2021 By Sreejith Mullappilly

Balu Varghese and Lukman Lukku play interns of the cyber crime cell in director Tharun Moorthty's debut film 'Operation Java'. Similar to Abrid Shine's Action Hero Biju, this film has an episodic narrative where the protagonists hop from one case to the other while impacting people's lives. They hardly stop to pause and reflect on their lives in the process.

In a milieu so distant from the 1980s, Operation Java also reminds you of the Mohanlal and Sreenivasan-starrer Nadodikkattu. Remember that Sathyan Anthikad film where a jobless Dasan (Mohanlal) tells a police officer that he and Vijayan (Sreenivasan) are ready to do anything for a living?

The plight of the protagonists in Operation Java is not too different; only, here, the two solve cases with their investigation skills rather than sheer luck. They are willing to be part of the crime cell even if it is on a temporary basis and for a low salary. Their initial jobless status makes them a target of jokes among their loved ones and even their future superiors. That condescending behavior from their seniors happens despite them joining the force and making a name for themselves.

As they go on a spree of investigations, you may feel that there is no common thread in this film that connects the dots, so to speak. But there is an overarching theme here about the transient nature of the main characters' lives. Every case they monitor here comes and goes so quickly, whether it is about the pirated print of Alphonse Puthren's Premam or a medical fraud scheme. Add to that the fact that the two main characters have temporary roles in the cyber cell, and then you would get the point of the film.

The first half of the film is very entertaining. The narrative never sags in those portions, unlike in the latter parts. The choices of the actors for the cop characters here are all excellent. The quietly brilliant Irshad, the dynamite that is Prashanth, and the sheer force that is Binu Pappu - they are excellent in small yet significant roles. In many parts, Pappu's and Prashanth's mere presences alone are enough to infuse some life into the proceedings. I like the bit where Pappu's character gives Balu Varghese's character a pearl of life wisdom here; it is nicely well woven into the film.

Balu Varghese and Lukman Lukku are competent actors appropriately cast for their roles. Even in a single scene, Vinayakan again shows how good an actor he is. The actor is to this film what Suraj Venjaramoodu was to Action Hero Biju.

Sorry for not naming the characters here. Unfortunately, I cannot remember their names, and the internet is not helping me in this regard.

But there are problem parts in the film. For a film like this to work in the best way, the writing for the central characters has to be good. There should be something more in them that helps us understand what they are like as people. This is where the movie disappoints. There is an unnecessary romance track that overstays its welcome.

I thought the number of cases here is one too many. Instead of those mini-adventures, the writers should have focused more on building the main characters. Nevertheless, the writers treat the investigative aspects of the characters with realism and some dignity. For example, there are no scenes of them giving high fives or punching the air in delight when at work. That is for a cinematic movie. This is a realistic film that shows police procedural as routine work.

Some might wonder why the third act of the film feels like it is the start or the middle point. I also wondered why that is the case, but soon we realize that the pointlessness here is also the point.

Sreejith Mullappilly