Mumbai Police (2013) #SherylPuthur


Directed By: Rosshan Andrrews

Written By: Bobby-Sanjay


Prithviraj Sukumaran– ACP Antony Moses

Jayasurya – ACP Aaryan Jacob

Rahman – CP Farhan Ashraf

Hima Davis –Rebecca

Aparna Nair – Rakhee Menon

Deepa Rahul Ishwar – Annie Farhan

Nihal Pillai – Pilot

Language: Malayalam                                                 Genre: Crime-Thriller

Rosshan Andrrews’ 2013 crime-thriller Mumbai Police is a psychological study into the drives and motivations of a person. It is about the various masks we wear; how we project ourselves and how guilt and regret when entwined can bring out traumatic responses.

The story revolves around ACP Antony Moses aka Rascal Moses (Prithviraj) a rather aggressive police officer who is known for his ruthless methodology and ability to get work done, the means no bar.

He is investigating the murder of his friend and colleague ACP Aaryan Jacob (Jayasurya) and finds a vital clue to the identity of the murderer and in fact actually knows who killed him but before he can confide everything to his senior officer CP Farhan Ashraf (Rahman) – he is involved in an almost fatal accident. He survives it physically but his memory doesn’t.

Now an amnesiac Antony Moses has to solve this high profile case and figure out who the killer is before time runs out. It becomes a cat and mouse game but what is unclear is who the cat is and who is the mouse.

Antony Moses B, the amnesiac, needs to find out what Antony Moses A knew and bring it to light. Yet he cannot recognise friend or foe and Antony Moses A had a lot of foes. He is randomly attacked by people, yet his kinaesthetic memory of fighting saves him. It also becomes clear that Antony Moses A was trying to protect someone, because the entire investigation is full of subterfuge. So suddenly, everyone is suspicious.

But more than a murder, it is about identity. It is about machismo in all male organisations and what defines masculinity. How aggression can be used as a mask. Also when certain aspects of identity are hidden to us because of a loss of memory then certain behaviour patterns are lost. There are also many references to the duties of a police officer, the oath they take – how everything is a rigidly defined system that has everything clearly stated as rules. And deviations are not allowed.

A telling scene in the film, when Antony Moses B is contemplating who he is and has only questions but no answers. He realises he will understand better only if he dons the uniform. So the shot has Antony Moses looking at his wardrobe and then turning towards his uniform that is propped on a hanger. He walks towards it and his shadow looms over it to form a shadowy head above the collar. Almost like, he is in the dark about the identity of this person and what lies behind the uniform.

What stands out is the very moving portrayal by Prithviraj as ACP Antony Moses; especially when certain damaging revelations are made. Certain sequences seem rather stereotypical but that might have to do with a limited understanding of certain behaviour patterns. Nevertheless, it is a film that gives a rather realistic portrayal of things that are generally left unspoken.

Celluloid (2013) #SherylPuthur


Directed By: Kamal

Written By: Kamal


Prithviraj – J.C. Daniels

Sreenivasan – Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan

Mamta Mohandas – Janet

Chandni – Rosie

Language: Malayalam                                                            Genre: Biopic

Malayalam cinema is known for its mature handling of the medium and its introduction of themes ahead of their times. It then seems fitting that the Father of Malayalam cinema – J.C. Daniels would be a pioneer in this regard.

However, as forward as the themes of Malayalam cinema were and are it is balanced out by a rigidity of thought and caste prejudices. At present it may be slight in comparison to earlier times but it still exists and so the film functions simultaneously as a critique of Kerala society.

Celluloid follows the ill-fated career of J.C. Daniels (Prithiviraj) who has a dream to make the first Malayalam film. It follows his journey to erstwhile Bombay to meet with Dadasaheb Phalke (Nandu Madhav), who explains various aspects of film making. After a few delays, he manages to get hold of the equipment and a British cameraman, and begins his filming. Since he sold his land to finance the film, to keep costs low, he directed, acted, edited and also wrote the screenplay.

Unlike his contemporaries, his film Vigathakumaran was not based on mythology but was a social drama. Ironically, his own life resembled a social drama because when Bombay-based actor Lana proved difficult to work with he got Rosie (Chandni) a Dalit Christian (the term is ironic since the latter ought to cancel out the former but…) to act instead. She played a Nair lady but when the film was screened the orthodox upper-caste men took offence at the idea of a lower-caste woman playing a Nair woman and boycotted the film.

The film parallels J.C. Daniels life with the investigation of the journalist Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan (Sreenivasan) into the film career of this obscure dentist who was once known as J.C. Daniels, the director of Vigathakumaran.

The relationships portrayed in the film have been beautifully sketched out such as the love based in friendship shared by J.C. Daniels and his wife Janet (Mamta Mohandas). A strong woman who stands by her husband and remains the factor that keeps them knitted together. Her sisterly treatment of Rosie, ignoring the caste barriers makes for some of the most moving scenes within the film. A scene that stood out for me, for its poignancy, was decking Rosie in the attire of a Nair lady and her amazement at their ‘presumption’ that it was normal to treat her as equal.

A technically sound film, it uses film conventions to create symbolism within the film such as the shadow play on the whitewashed walls that eases with breathing. The narrative of the life continued in a closed carriage.

The film is about idealism, regret, apathy at the sight of continued failure and the slight flicker of hope that stays sometimes like a disease and sometimes like a blessing. It is also about the burning need to tell a story – to find expression.

Over and above, though it is a tribute to the first filmmaker in Malayalam. A technically sound film, its obvious use of technique is in itself a tribute to J.C. Daniels – whose first film in some sense set the base for the future of Malayalam cinema.