Lucifer is a smartly structured movie keeping in mind the targeted audience. If anyone asks me what kind of a film it is, I would say it is a reinvention of a formula that we have seen in many movies (Mohanlal himself has done one titled Ustad). But what is good about Lucifer is the way Murali Gopy has created equations between characters and stretched it to a movie that is presented on a huge canvas. With Mohanlal having all the grace and grandeur to be this larger than life character, I don’t think anyone with sensible expectations would come out with disappointment.
Stephen Nedumpally is like a Godson to his political mentor Ramdas. The sudden demise of Ramdas eventually results in the obvious question of who will follow Mr. Ramdas. Ramdas’ son-in-law Bobby, who is linked to all the dirty business ideas, offers the party guaranteed funding via narcotic connections to which the late Ramdas was totally against. The tension tightens between Bobby and Stephen when Stephen decides to uphold what his mentor stood for. How this power tussle unfolds is what Lucifer trying to show to its audience.
Murali Gopy has this writing trait of creating dialogues that are rich with metaphors and he uses them so effectively that once the movie is finished you will remember it. Lucifer is by far the simplest and straight forward script from Murali Gopy. But that hasn’t really affected his way of presenting characters. In the nearly three-hour long film, people like Tovino Thomas, Indrajith Sukumaran, and Saniya Iyyappan has hardly 20 minutes of screen time. But you will definitely remember them at the end of the film as characters that sort of contributed to the story we just saw on screen. The major demerit of Lucifer is perhaps the portion where we see a screen dominance of the extended cameo by Prithviraj Sukumaran. The old school bar dance climax was so stretched out and Prithviraj was seen showing his gratitude multiple times. To his defense, Prithviraj can definitely say that whatever outlandish things happen in that phase gets a justification when we ultimately see the Lucifer in Stephen Nedumpally in the climax of the movie.
Prithviraj should probably thank Shrikumar Menon for giving him that physically fit and macho Mohanlal. The first real fight sequence in the movie (the Vaada scene from the trailer), has Mohanlal performing those action sequences gracefully. And the physically fit Mohanlal trashing the goons with his unique swagger captured through the lenses of Sujith Vassudevv was a treat to watch. Lucifer is not a movie that demands the full range of Mohanlal, but it is a movie that has managed to capture certain things that he only can do; like the look he gives to John Vijay after that slap. Vivek Oberoi, the always in suits villain Bobby, is convincing as that ambitious and crooked playmaker and a huge shout out to Vineeth who’s dubbing for the actor adds so many layers to the largely monotonous performance. Manju Warrier manages to strike that balance between theatrical acting and subtle acting here in her role as Priyadarshini Ramdas. Tovino Thomas was another smart choice by Prithviraj as Jathin as the dual shade of the character demanded someone like him. Indrajith gets the role of a psychic truth seeker which sort of gets distributed unevenly in the screenplay. Shajon and Saikumar got good character roles here and there are numerous faces here appearing as major and minor characters.
The uncompromised making style definitely makes Prithviraj a technically aware director. He has a visual sense which makes the film a compelling watch. He fumbles as a director in the areas that I think comes solely under the director like the climax fight sequence set in a dance bar. He himself appearing as Zayed Masood and the clichéd way of doing it while a never-ending item song was happening inside a dance bar sort of makes the movie a tiring experience in those portions. If he criticized the left wing in left right left, here Murli Gopy is trying to use the opposition’s flaws to create a universe of bad guys. Stephen is placed as the least bad guy in a pool of cunning wolfs. Even though the used out dual persona theme reduces the impact slightly, there is an effort in the writing that can compel the viewer to do the solving of character equations. If we look back at Stephen’s over the top heroic deeds after knowing who he really is, there is a fair amount of justification. And Murali Gopy isn’t trying to make Stephen a messiah as he sort of continues the foul games which Bobby also played, barring narcotics, the dirty business. Sujith Vassudev’s visuals are sensational and I was left wondering how the same man made a tacky movie like Autorsha; maybe Prithviraj’s ability to squeeze out the best from his team. Samjith Mohammed’s cuts add style and depth to the narrative. Deepak Dev’s background score was effective and I can’t wait to hear that Tamil song. In certain sequences, I felt the production design could have been better.
Lucifer is extravagant, entertaining and to an extent pretentious. But just like how we bought the fact that a Jagannathan evacuated a slum in Dharavi, Indhuchoodan was the cricket team captain and a rank holder, we will buy this one too,
Just like how we bought the fact that a Jagannathan evacuated a slum in Dharavi, Indhuchoodan was the cricket team captain and a rank holder, we will buy this one too, largely because of Mr. Mohanlal.