Bheeshma Parvam Malayalam Movie
Amal Neerad likes slow-motion scenes and background music. His new film, Bheeshma Parvam has many slow-motion sequences as well as a stunning background score from Sushin Shyam. The movie is about the conflicts between the members of a gangster family, headed by Mammootty's Michael.
The Mammootty character is like a cross between Michael Corleone from The Godfather and Bheeshma from Mahabharatha. Like the mythological character, Michael stays away from marriage and sexual relations, to look after his family affairs. Like Corleone, he becomes the leader of the family after the death of his father. There is only a slight similarity to the Al Pacino character. His introduction scene reminds me of the first sequence in The Godfather, where a man seeks a favor from Don Vito Corleone.
The inspiration for Mammootty's character is Bheeshma more and Michael Corleone less. I do not want to get into the specifics of the plot. For easy explanation, let us just say that Michael witnesses a specific event in his family in about the same way as Bheeshma experiences the Mahabharatha. Not everyone in his family likes Michael. Most of them despise the fact that Michael has the power to call the shots through inheritance.
Neerad's script makes the power equations and the simmering tension in the family clear and palpable. The film devotes a lot of screen time to almost all the characters, but we know little about many of them.
As with most of Amal Neerad's films, the strengths of Bheeshma Parvam are in its making and performances. Neerad is a master technician who finds inventive ways to use the camera. An early fight sequence involving Mammootty is inventive for how it employs a high-speed camera. The action sequences are slightly longer but are enjoyable thanks to Mammootty's convinction in the fights even as a 70-year-old.
The other admirable aspect of the film is Sushin Shyam's music. Most of the songs are not timed well in the film but some leave a big impact. Take the Parudeesa song, for instance. It fits the situation well and is high in energy.
The performances are also excellent across the board. Mammootty's swagger alone makes Michael fun to watch, even though the character seems familiar to people of a certain vintage. Mammootty has the physicality and screen presence to pull off such a big character. It is safe in Mammootty's hands.
Shine Tom Chacko makes Peter funny and scary in equal parts. He is menacing during Peter's tantrums. Sreenath Bhasi, Lena, Jinu Joseph, and Dileesh Pothan all deliver competent performances. Admirably, K. P. A. C. Lalitha and Nedumudi Venu play small yet important roles even as they struggle with their health conditions. For me, Soubin Shahir offers the best performance and plays the best character in Bheeshma Parvam. Watch the actor deliver a reaction shot as another character reveals a key piece of news. It is among the film's best moments. The fight sequence involving Soubin's Ajas is also fun to watch.
Now, notwithstanding its strengths, Bheeshma Parvam does not quite work for me. Neerad's pet indulgences, such as slow-mo scenes and tendency to use the background music, weigh the film down and make it slower than necessary. Except for Big B, Iyobinte Pusthakam, and Varathan, Amal Neerad's films have mostly been about style over substance. The same goes for Bheeshma Parvam. Neerad spends a long time using slow-motion for character-establishing shots. The entry of the villain seems like that of Angoor Ravuther in Iyobinte Pusthakam. After a point, it becomes annoying. Sudev Nair does not have the same swagger that Jayasurya shows for Angoor Ravuther but has little to work with here.
The film also seems way too familiar and predictable. It will not earn any credits for the script. There is little surprise in it. But I realize that I am in the minority here. There is also a large audience base who likes this brand of cinema.