Film: 'Twenty 20'; Cast: Mammootty, Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi, Indrajith, Madhu; Director: Joshi; Music: Suresh Peters; Cinematography: P Sukumar; Rating: ***
There is nothing in the the biggest Malayalam movie blockbuster to date to remotely connect it with the shortest and most popular version of cricket, Twenty 20.
Yet, it is as interestingly slick. Like the game under floodlights, the movie has stars galore with Mammooty, Mohanlal and Suresh Gopi leading the pack and ably supported by veteran Madhu.
Ace director Joshi keeps the fans of all icons interested in the proceedings with ample scope for each leading member of the cast.
As in most multi-starrers, the storyline is thin.
A retired Supreme Court judge Vishwanathan (Madhu) returns home to Kerala to hear the mortifying news that one of his grandsons Arun (Indrajith) is accused of murdering a classmate in a medical college in Bangalore.
Suresh Gopi plays the investigating officer pitted against the defence counsel Mammootty (who had incidentally qualified to be a lawyer in real life).
The third side of the tale's triangle is provided by feudal scion Themmady (meaning rowdy) Devan Pratapa Varma (Mohanlal).
The events lead to a climax that can be guessed by virtually everyone in the audience.
Mohanlal has the easiest time since he plays the cantankerous character with the same verve depicted by him in similar roles in countless films.
Having seen Mammootty in several movies as a lawyer, the role itself doesn't come as a surprise. But, the twists in the tale do the job more than adequately as the star essays his part with skilful, underplayed aplomb.
Suresh Gopi as the no-nonsense cop (another role from the star's checkered track record) suits him to the hilt, aided by the script's chiselled dialogue that accentuates his presence.
There are enough nerve-racking thrills in the narration as each star tries to outwit the other and the narrative provides the audience enough opportunity to go gaga over their icons.
Joshi had earlier cast Mammootty and Mohanlal in offbeat murder mystery 'Number 20 Madras Mail' in 1990 with almost equal opportunities.
The only flaw of 'Twenty 20' is that its characters are stereotyped all the way. But it is also the movie's unique selling point because it is an obvious endeavour to exploit the stars' images.
Camera work by Sukumar is excellent since each matinee idol has been given flattering shots but everything has been put together without offending the other star(s) in the same frame.
Suresh Peters' background score etches the taut screenplay and augments the entertainment.
In a nutshell, the film has no wonders and by itself that seems like wonderful news due to its packaging.