After a few months, Mohanlal is finally back into a film that may work out in the Box Office. Yes, his 'Shikaar.. The Hunt' with some shortcomings, has the potential to gift him with a welcome hit, after all those recent duds.
Playing a lorry driver named Balaraman who is in the run from a forgettable past events, the movie is entirely shouldered by the versatile actor. And whenever it goes on to other petty off-stories out from the lead track, the feel of uneasiness is there. Anyhow, 'Shikaar' with a plot about a man destined to escape from the revenge of his past deeds is a different thought and a better product for Padmakumar , the talented young director to end up his long wait for a hit.
Balaraman (Mohanlal) a lorry driver, operating in the forest area called Chittazha, transporting bamboos is the leader of all good men of the high ranges, fighting with every outsiders who come up to create havoc in the region. Constantly supported and followed buy Maniappan, his trusted aide, all his hopes are on his foster-daughter Ganga, who is all set to join a medical course securing a second rank in the entrance exams. But his haunting past follows him to this forest den, clearly making him over protective about his daughter and himself, to the extent of psychosis. With a group ready to make a miserable life for the protagonist for deeds that he had never committed, Balaraman now has to take the biggest risks of his life to save everything.
The highlight of the story by S. Sureshbabu is that even if you may find the story a damn regular after the show, the narrative techniques used and the finesse in keeping the suspense element till the last 30 minutes, succeeds big time. And even when the back stories are open, you really admit that there are reasons for the protagonist to fear his gruesome past. The problems with the movie is its roaming first half with no clear ideas on whether to or how to project the lead character as a mass hero. The poorly choreographed comic situations and forced fight sequences also add to the woes of the narratives. Both the two mass operations in the movie, the first by the police and the other by the Naxalites seems over the top, as the persons in the lookout are portrayed to get trapped with least of the difficulties. The dialogues also have not much steam to cherish. But in the second half, things falls into track and the climax is better than the proceedings that we were till then.
The movie remains a visual treat with Manoj Pillai working at his helm, panning over the landscapes and lush green forests with some real adventurous shots. The other highlight naturally remains Mohanlal, who has given his heart out to another complex role, though the sequences needed to draw out the great performer in him are missing. But one thing about the movie and the actor is that no one can think about such a plot without him at the centre. Samuthirakani in a cameo gets lots of applause for his fiery spirits. The rest of the cast including Lalu Alex, Ananya, Thalaivasal Vijay, and Kalabhavan Mani is ok in their parts. While Suraj fails to evoke laughter in a half baked role, Jagathy manages to make things merry with his immaculate timing and performance, a sharp contrast about the abilities of the both. Sneha is in short role, just to appear beautiful while Lakshmi Gopalaswamy and Kailash's cameo are engaging.
Renjan Abraham in editing could have cleaned up some more sequences which could have made the movie a lot more finer. The art director of the movie also have worked overtime to give a realistic look to the temporary village. M Jayachandran's four song's are good, but comes up in wrong portions of the narratives: in fact, the movie may not be affected even without any of the songs.
All in all, M Padmakumar will manage to make a name of his own as a hit director through 'Shikaar', though in a slippery terrain of a non-conventional theme. The movie may end up well for him and Lal, if marketed well.