Our state went to polls yesterday amidst much fervour and excitement & also the exam season got over just a week back, which meant our film industry has been maintaining a low profile until Mammookka's "Gangster" heralded the beginning of the Vishu-Easter season today. With Aashiq Abu, a master in promotions keeping his cards close to the chest, the film carries a palpable sense of hype. The question is whether it would live upto expectations or will it disappear into oblivion pretty much like how Mammookka's name disappeared from the voter's list???
Akbar Ali (Mammootty) is the son of the murdered Mumbai underworld don & the kingpin of the Mangalore Crime Syndicate which had two other allies in the form of Uncle Sam (John Paul) & Mani Menon (Kunchan). A pact was formed between the trio that each one wont interfere into the others domain which more or less ensured a peaceful but uneasy truce. But things take a turn when Uncle Sam's nephew Anto (Shekhar Menon), a sexual sadist & drug junkie steps into the arena. Anto seeks the permission of Akbar Ali to import a consignment of contaminated vaccines in Mangalore port, which the latter denies. This sows the seeds of rivalry as Anto unleashes havoc in Akbar's life which costs him his wife & empire. As Akbar recuperated in Ajmer under the wings of his father's aide Haji (T.G Ravi), his mind was just set on one thing & that was payback.
After a string of flops, "Gangster" was dubbed to be the comeback of Mammookka, but all those hopes gets vaporized well before the film reaches its climax. The primary reason for that is the hastily written script by Ahmed Sidhique and Abhilash Kumar, which clearly depicts a lack of imagination. Neither did they give Mammookka a properly etched character nor did they concentrate on pulling out credible twists as the plot was nothing more than a predictable tale of revenge with the screen splattered with blood and gore. It seems Aashiq Abu was more interested in Mammookka's style quotient rather than making use of his acting skills. Frankly speaking, I cant fault Saiju's editing coz if he tried for a more racy narrative then the film would have been over in an hour. Deepak Dev's BGM was average while the "Allahu" track seemed fine. As for the visuals, Alby has done an impressive job in an otherwise woeful film.
What do I say about Mammookka...he is reduced to nothing more than a ramp model as he barely had much dialogues to mouth. As always he looks awesome, but then his character lacked the depth & we are left wondering whether he even read the script prior to signing the dotted line. Shekhar Menon as the antagonist doesnt quite measure upto the legend, as his histrionics failed to evoke a chill down the spine. As for the rest of the cast, they made up for the numbers & did a decent job while the female characters barely had anything to do.
Verdict: Aashiq Abu's marketing skills & the first major movie to hit the screens after a hiatus will ensure that the film will have a fantastic initial. However, a wafer thin plot with an oft repeated revenge saga coupled with a sluggish pace will make the audience yearn for the exit. In short, Aashiq Abu needs to realize that content is king & not graphics and marketing gimmicks!!!