The climax of the Khalid Rahman movie Unda received some criticism over the sudden surge of heroics in that phase of the movie. The director later revealed that it wasn’t really his plan. I am talking about that particular film because Kannur Squad, the new Mammootty starrer, which marks the directorial debut of cinematographer Roby Varghese Raj, also has a similar struggle because of how the movie wants to project its leading man. In totality, the film is definitely worth the watch, and a significant reason for that is the survival thriller layer of the story.
ASI George and his team, comprising of officers Jayan, Jose, and Shafi, are called the Kannur Squad. From finding political criminals to solving murders, they have a pretty decent track record. In the movie Kannur Squad, we see one such mission in which they had to find the murderers of a prominent person who got killed in his own house in Kasargod. How George and his team manage to catch the criminals in a span of 10 days is what we witness in this film.
When the movie’s first half ended, my hopes weren’t that high. Until that point, the film was building its world by showing us one case story that sort of depicts the moral dilemma of police officers. And there is another layer of their personal story where one officer faced departmental action for taking bribes. The movie sort of reaches the interval point almost at the beginning of the case in point. It is actually the second half of the movie where the lack of support starts to test the team, and we find them in that survival thriller kind of space. In those areas, the film gains momentum, and I found myself clapping for some of the emotional moments they created, like that final look at the Tata Sumo.
The script written by Rony David Raj and Muhammed Shafi is a bit generic in the initial areas where the purpose of the writing is to establish the characters. The empathizing done towards these characters is somewhat loud and obvious. Thanks to some really smooth execution of some edgy set pieces in the second half, we get to feel a sense of excitement in the investigation. The disobeying dialogue in the trailer of the movie actually felt more emotional and worth rooting for when it came to the film. Since the movie has this road movie format with various locations, the cinematography smartly uses geography to accentuate the mood. The movie’s logical coherence is not great, as the stylizing at times makes the film too much of a star vehicle. But by keeping the survival aspect prominent in the second half, Roby Varghese Raj manages to keep things under control. The background score by Sushin Shyam was fine in elevating certain mass euphoria sequences.
Mammootty, as the team head, George, is both a blessing and a burden for the movie. While the movie’s core theme utilizes the actor in him to make those moments of composure and anger work for the audience, there is desperation to project him as a hero, which wasn’t really something the story demanded. Rony David Raj has given himself a meaty role in his script with personal conflicts and fairly good screen time. Azees Nedumangad is not a comic relief in this film, and it was refreshing to see him in such a character. Even though it was a character with minimal screen time, the performance of Shabareesh was also fine. Rocket Boys fame Arjun Radhakrishnan as the main antagonist was really solid. Kishore, as the Kannur SP, had that sharpness the character demanded. Sarath Sabha, Dhruvan, Deepak Parambol, Manoj KU, Vijayaraghavan, etc., are the other major names in the cast. Special mention to the girl who played the role of Manoj KU’s daughter.
Kannur Squad is far from perfect. But there is a really appreciable effort on the making front to elevate the drama in the story to convey the hardships of the police force, who are primarily a mere tool of the system. If the minimalism with which Mammootty’s character was introduced in the film was maintained throughout, Kannur Squad would have been much more raw and gritty.
In totality, the film is definitely worth the watch, and a significant reason for that is the survival thriller layer of the story.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended