Some movies and books can be difficult to snag in the early stages. They start out so intensely that it may seem too much and too difficult to follow. And yet there will be something about the characterization, plot, or language that will hold your interest long enough and then provide a rewarding experience. Malik gives you that sense, although it does not fully respond to the experience.
The film, written, directed and edited by Mahesh Narayanan, begins with the performance of the elderly protagonist Sulaiman Ali Ahammad, played by Fahadh Faasil, who is ready to continue the Haj. A community leader who has developed the coastal area of Ramadapally, has to handle tensions and difficult situations even in the midst of preparations for the pilgrimage. But his wife Rosaline, who seems like a force in her own right, insists that he uses the Haj to show that he is breaking with his dark past.
Packed with action, characters and conflicts, in the family, the community and the politicians, the first scene is a difficult start. But Fahadh and Nimisha are actors who, if anything, are capable of capturing and holding your attention. And as the scene changes, the story begins to flow in a more understandable way.
Traveling non-linearly, the drama observes how politicians manipulate the system and people to create projects that destroy communities and the earth, while filling their pockets. While the police arrest Sulaiman before he leaves for Haj and we wait to see how he unfolds, the film shows young Sulaiman, who starts out as a smuggler and a daring risk taker, who is also eager to work for the neighbor. Muslim. and Christian communities in its backward coastal area. But crime is a slippery slope and while locals admire it, the bureaucracy is forced to crack down on its illegal activities. And when they find it difficult, we see how the political system ruthlessly pits brother against brother.
In a 160-minute runtime, there are moments where the movie lags behind and parts that seem a bit exaggerated and unclear, like the shot when Sulaiman’s young son is killed. But the main plot, which centers on the police trying to end the Sulaiman problem, is interesting and full of suspense.
Mahesh Narayanan, who has given us interesting projects, like Take Off, could have kept the story tighter. Sanu Varghese’s cinematography is a beautiful balance between fearless and picturesque. While the main couple is good, particularly in their older avatars, the supporting cast consisting mostly of Joju George, Dileesh Pothen, and Indrans add quality to the film.
The film is a bit long and has some confusing parts, but on the bright side, Malik reflects important themes of our time in a compelling way; politicians who manipulate people – thanks to our system, this issue can be explored in several different ways – minority communities facing difficult times to get ahead and people facing each other. In these troubled times, these are stories that need to be told.