Monster, Mohanlal’s new film, is a mediocre thriller that doesn’t do justice to a daring premise. However, it is suitable for those who want to watch the veteran try something new on the big screen.
Mumbai,UPDATED: Oct 22, 2022 09:26 IST
Monster released on October 21.
By Roktim Rajpal: In 2015, Mohanlal headlined Loham, one of the most talked about films of the year. While the Ranjith-directed thriller had an intriguing premise, it ended up being a missed opportunity as the screenplay had one twist too many. Lalettan’s latest release Monster, which hit theaters on October 21, brings back memories of that disappointing experience. However, the Vysakh-directed film fares slightly better than Loham, mostly due to its classy presentation and slick action sequences.
Monster revolves around Lucky Singh, a ‘Punjabi Malayali’ man, who arrives in Kerala to fulfill certain personal and professional obligations. He tries to bond with Bhamini (Honey Rose), a She-Taxi driver/operator and invites herself to her wedding anniversary. It soon becomes clear that Lucky Singh is not who he claims to be. This forms the basis for some revelations and confrontations.
The basic storyline has huge potential. It initially uses the tried and true “simple guy with secret” formula, which was previously used quite effectively in films like Vedalam and Baashha, to move the story forward. However, Monster fails to make the desired impact because the screenplay written by Udaykrishna is rather bland.
The film opens with a series of sequences that introduce us to Bhamini and her family. While these scenes offer nothing special, they set the stage for Mohanlal’s entry. Lalettan single-handedly carried the first half with his lively performance. The scenes that revolve around his attempts to woo Bhamini are quite enjoyable and work due to the effective comedic timing. His scenes with the child artist Jess Sweejan also turned out very well. The first half builds well on a sense of mystery surrounding Lucky Singh. It also ends on a tense note, giving the audience a good reason to look forward to the second half.
Unfortunately, the film falls apart after the intermission. The second is set as an investigative thriller, at least for the most part. The interrogation scenes feel rushed. They lack the type of intensity seen in similar sequences in Drishyam. A series of twists and turns in quick succession doesn’t really help Monster either. However, the film tries to redeem itself by broaching a sensitive subject towards the end. That said, it needed to be explored in a more in-depth way.
The action scenes are filmed quite stylishly. They should appeal to those who love the ones featured in Vysakh’s 2019 actioner Madhura Raja. Anyway, these scenes are much more convincing than the ones in the forgettable Laila O Laila.
In the performances, Mohanlal is the heart and soul of Monster. Lucky Singh could have been so easily reduced to a caricature. Luckily this doesn’t happen, as Lalettan brings his quirky antics to life on the big screen without being too over the top.
Honey Rose is charged with a one-dimensional character. She deserved better. Lakshmi Manchu is making her presence felt despite limited screen time. Her intense body language helps her do justice to an important action scene. The likes of Sudev Nair, Siddique and KB. Ganesh Kumar is decent in minor supporting roles.
The cinematography of Satheesh Kurup is one of Monster’s strong points. It gives the film a decidedly rich look and feel. The Ghoom Ghoom song, composed by Deepak Dev, isn’t exactly catchy. However, it blends into the story.
To conclude, Monster isn’t really Mohanlal’s best work. However, it may be just enough to satisfy the veteran star’s ardent fans.
We go with 2.5 stars out of 5 for Monster.