One starring Mammootty is an ambitious political drama that aspires to trigger a debate in the democratic space. It talks about an idea that sounds exciting on a seed level. But in terms of developing that idea, I would say it’s on a slippery slope. The line between being political and apolitical becomes extremely blurry when you talk about that topic. Maybe because of that, Bobby and Sanjay focus more on the righteous guy aura of Kadakkal Chandran rather than dwelling more into the debate surrounding the central idea.
Kadakkal Chandran, the chief minister of Kerala, is our main protagonist. He has this image of a tough ruler. The film begins with an incident in which a young boy writes a Facebook post against Chandran. But as the story progresses, we are shown the noble intentions of Chandran, and he aspires to present a bill that would allow the people an opportunity to recall their elected representatives if they are not performing well. Chandran’s implementation of that plan and the challenging task of implementing it is what we see in One.
If you look at the movies that have the story and screenplay credit to Bobby Sanjay, you would see the presence of an element that has some connection with medical science. Here also there is one such track. But the issue was that they used it as a mere tool to humanize the character. Coming to the core idea of a bill that allows recalling the elected MLAs or MPs, I would say it is as fascinating as Shankar’s idea of one day CM in Muthalvan. But here, the debate around that idea is pretty minimal. What we see mostly in One is Kadakkal Chandran’s image building. And to be frank, even though I would love to see a CM like Chandran, the movie’s depiction of a CM was far away from possible reality.
Santhosh Viswanath manages to generate the desired scale for the film. The movie is never dull at any point. The screenplay makes sure that there is an event happening at regular intervals to take the story forward. But like I said, most of the events are a CM show(At one point, a journalist even asks the CM the same question). I was hoping the movie to use the medical science element in the story to create some sort of interference in that central conflict surrounding the bill. But the writing had too much of Jis Joy-level optimism. Vaidy Somasundaram’s frames always make sure that Kadakkal Chandran is a hero. Nishad Yusuf’s cuts are on the aggressive side, and I would say it had a significant role in making the movie a lot more engaging considering its vast character pool and length. The background score by Gopi Sundar was pretty monotonous.
Kadakkal Chandran is not a cakewalk character that doesn’t demand any sort of preparation. Chandran has his weak moments and emotional vulnerabilities in the story, and Mammootty gracefully portrayed that part. Murali Gopy yet again delivers a smooth performance. It’s a character that says theatrical dialogues, but he presented those dialogues in a very practical manner. Joju George gets to play the role of Chandran’s best friend, Baby, and it was a very subtle and effective performance. Gayathri Arun as Seena was really good. I really liked Matthew Thomas’s performance as Sanal. He could have easily overdone it, but he had control over the character.
One is a mixed bag, in my opinion. It has the scale and aura of an appealing political drama, and it has a catchy central idea that needed a deeper exploration. But, it relies on Kadakkal Chandran’s image overtly, and the script ignores some of the crucial tracks it created for suspense. One is engaging for sure, but the story somewhere misses the punch.
One talks about an idea that sounds exciting on a seed level. But in terms of developing that idea, I would say it's on a slippery slope.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended