Alibhai Malayalam Movie Review

Feature Film
Aug 20, 2007 By Unni Nair

Alibhai was perhaps the most awaited film of the season, especially since it was being released just before Onam, and with the Shaji Kailas - Mohanlal team coming together, it was supposed to work magic at the box office. But the magic seems to have faded away immediately after the first day of release, resulting in crowds thinning out fast at most theatres.

Alibhai tells the story of Anwar Ali, who leaves his home in his childhood when his own father Ahmed Sahib mistakes him for a thief and beats him black and blue in front of people. He surfaces in the Palayalam market of Kozhikode, where he grows up as Alibhai, an undisputed leader of the proletarian class, one who stands up to speak for them and even to clench his fists and fight for them and their rights.

There are many whose lives revolve around Alibhai. There is Kunjikannan, known popularly as Market Kunji, who is Alibhai's mentor and sort of guardian. There are a bunch of friends and well-wishers who form his gang, including Hameed, Salim Babu, Ramu, Podipaatti Kunjaattu, Sameer Das, Vijayan, Dasappan and a little boy Ganapathy. There is the flower girl Chenthamara who loves him deeply, and there is young Kingini, who is brought up by Alibhai just as a father brings up his daughter.

Then comes another girl Ganga, who is given refuge by Alibhai under some special circumstances. He also looks after Abraham, who earlier used to rule over the Palayam market as a goonda, and who was defeated in a fight by Alibhai, following which he was so badly injured that he has been bedridden ever since. All these and many others constitute the near and dear ones of Alibhai.

Once in a while Alibhai goes to his own house to meet his mother and to secretly leave behind a gift for his father, whom he loves dearly. But all this is destined to change when Sundaran, who was actually the one who had plotted against Ali in his childhood resurfaces after a long time and with a remorseful heart, begs of Ali to forgive him and to return home. At almost the same time someone else appears - Danny Abraham, the son of Abraham, who has certain motives of his own. From here Alibhai's life is destined to change dramatically.

Mohanlal is perfect as Alibhai and does the role very convincingly and in a manner that will appease his die-hard fans. All the others too do their roles rather well. The technical aspects including cinematography, editing, art-work etc are all good. Then what exactly is the problem with the film? Where have the makers faltered, making the film unimpressive?

The problem is that though all the actors have performed well, no character other than that of Alibhai has been etched well. The film belongs to Mohanlal alone. No one else has anything to do in it. The leading ladies Gopika as Ganga and Navya Nair as Chenthamara don't belong. Siddique's character as Sundaran is not well worked out and he has nothing much to do in the film. Moreover he is typecast. Aryaman D. Shetty as Danny Abraham too is unimpressive. Jagdish, Ganesh Kumar, Vijayakumar, Shammi Thilakan, Suraaj Venjaramoodu, Sudhessh etc, who appear as the hero's sidekicks too seem redundant. The only two actors who seem worth mentioning are Cochin Haneefa as Kunjikannan and Master Ganapathy as Ganapathy. Innocent as Ahmed Sahib is good, but he too is wasted.

It should be remembered that in most Shaji Kailas blockbusters, especially those scripted by Renji Panicker and by Ranjith, the writers and the director had always given due importance to each and every character. The heroines too were presented rather impressively, and strong villains have always been among the highlights of Shaji Kailas films.

It should be remembered that Aaraam Thampuraan was liked not just for the scintillating performance of Mohanlal alone. Manju Warrier too had an impressive role to do in the film and so did everyone else including Narendra Prasad, Saikumar etc. In Narasimham Thilakan did an amazingly impr

Unni Nair