Marakkar Lion of the Arabian Sea movie review: Priyadarshan tells an age-old tale without tiring the audience, but after a while, you may feel that the film is unwilling to show its inevitable conclusion.
- Marakkar Lion of the Arabian Sea movie director: Priyadarshan
- Marakkar Lion of the Arabian Sea movie cast: Mohanlal, Suniel Shetty, Arjun Sarja, Prabhu, Ashok Selvan, Manju Warrier, Keerthy Suresh, Nedumudi Venu, Siddique, Mukesh, Pranav Mohanlal, Jay J. Jakkrit, Max Cavenham, and Toby Sauerback.
- Movie Rating: 3.0/5
‘Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea,’ one of the most anticipated Malayalam films of 2015, features Mohanlal and Priyadarshan together for the first time, and has already stirred up controversy owing to its theatrical release. Even before its debut, discussions about the Rs 100-crore club — linked with perhaps Mohanlal’s finest works – began. Who is responsible for generating these numbers? Nobody knows!
So, how was the movie? While avoiding adjectives, we might describe the film’s plot and narrative style as contemporary of the previous decade Malayalam period dramas such as Prithviraj’s “Urumi” and Mammootty’s “Pazhassiraja.” You may call it “Kunjali Marakkar- Arabikadalinte Simham” with a pinch of ‘Bahubali’-inspired warfare concepts.
The film recounts the story of Kunjali Marakkar, a prominent naval admiral in 16th-century Kerala during the time when there were frequent battles between the Portuguese army under Vasco da Gama and Samoothiri (Zamorin). The young Kunjali Marakkar (Pranav Mohanlal), one of the heirs to Marakkar family, is all set to marry a princess (Kalyani Priyadarshan).
The Marakkar family are credited with establishing India’s first naval base to defend against a foreign aggressor. They were an important component of Samoothiri’s navy due to their superior understanding of nautical warfare. Because the Marakkar family refuses to accept the Portuguese empire’s new commercial legislation, a dispute ensues that culminates in the deaths of the entire clan at the hands of an outside force. Only Kunjali Marakkar and his uncle Pattu Marakkar, played by Siddique, survive the carnage.
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In the forests of northern Karnataka, Kunjali takes on the persona of a “Robinhood” figure for those being oppressed by landlords and the Portuguese. Years pass as Kunjali Marakkar becomes Europe’s most wanted fugitive, but he is revered as a savior by the poor and exploited. Pranav Mohanlal sets his father Mohanlal ahead from there. The plot focuses on how Kunjali exacts his revenge and regain Samoothiri’s trust in the second half.
In the second half, additional characters are introduced. The Chinnali (Jay J Jakkrit) and Archa (Keerthy Suresh), a landlord’s daughter, romance thickens the plot and creates a rift between Kunjali and Samoothiri. It’s then a battle between Kunjali Marakkar’s small but brave army and the enormous Portuguese force with every sovereign under Samoothiri’s domain.
At the end, it’s rather predictable and is somewhat similar to what happens in “Pazhassiraja” and “Urumi.” The film fulfills all of the criteria that one might expect from a period drama/war film. Pep talks to give motivational speeches to fire up an army’s spirit, a personal vendetta tale, betrayal, the good and just rebel hero (and then there’s an inevitable finish that demonstrates the lead character’s unapologetic attitude even in death), and finally a triumphant conclusion.
Despite the fact that the plot is similar to many previous films, Priyadarshan’s vision adds some interest to the film. Despite the magnificent cinematography, however, there is a lack of research into 16th century language and culture. The conversations and language are inappropriate for the narrative’s time period or characters, frequently becoming comical. The Marakkar family (a Muslim clan) and Zamorin (a Brahmin ruler), for example, have a similar accent.
Another disadvantage is that the female characters are unconvincing. Veteran actor Suhasini plays the typical overprotective parent of younger Kunjali and is later murdered in the film. Manju Warrier, a well-known star of Malayalam cinema, appears in a standard part with limited potential to shine. Keerthy Suresh receives an National Award for her performance as a major yet brief role that has little impact on the plot. It was amusing, though, how she played veena like an electric guitar.
Mohanlal and Mohanlal also fell short. Although the tarred face during the battle sequences aided, the ferocious battle fury and cold-bloodedness anticipated from a seasoned warhorse such as Kunjali was absent from the actor’s performance. Pranav lacked acting ability in some scenes, but his dialogue delivery was amateurish once again. Hareesh Peradi’s portrayal of Mangattachan, the commander in chief of Samootiri, was unforgettable.
There are a slew of familiar faces in Malayalam cinema who star as various people throughout this historical drama. Late actor Nedumudi Venu, Siddique, Mukesh, Innocent, Mamookkoya, KB Ganesh Kumar, and Baburaj portray their characters in an accurate and distinctive style. Bollywood actor Sunil Shetty and veterans Tamil actors Prabhu and Arjun Sarja add to the cast’s diversity.
Priyadarshan’s film doesn’t wear down the audience, but you may feel it is hesitant to show its inevitable conclusion after a while. Otherwise, the movie is a lot of fun to watch. Tirru’s cinematography adds to the drama. The screenplay is by Priyadarshan and Ani Sasi. Rahul Raj has composed the music for the film.