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    1. #1
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      Default CBI 5: A Late Review

      Venue: Netflix

      A few months ago, I happened to catch the 3 sequels to the iconic Oru CBI Diary Kuruppu. They were all enjoyable, and yet again served as a timely reminder that when it comes to charming and smart investigation roles with classy dialogues, Mammotty is head and shoulders above his contemporaries. The title credits provided a cool nostalgic trip down that memory lane. That said, the mediocre promos and posters prior to the film's release did dampen my excitement.

      The CBI series has several hallmarks. Apart from the characterisation of Sethuramiyer, the team of Chacko and Vikram, some memorable supporting characters like that of Haridas, Ouseppachan, Tailor Mani etc, along with other distinct antagonists and above all else an iconic BGM perfected by Shyam. In all these aspects, CBI 5 has fallen disappointingly short.

      Casting: While the absence of Vikram from this film couldn't be helped, the actor Jagathy was given a memorable tribute in one beautiful scene in the 2nd half. It's hard to watch that without a dry eye. It was also cleverly intertwined with the investigation despite the limitations faced. However, replacing the original team with average actors like Ramesh Pisharody and Renji Panicker, along with Ansiba in a forgettable role, undermines this CBI installment. The idea of providing a class on past CBI Cases was laughable when considering I got reminded of How to Get Away with Murder, the former had the power of Viola Davis....whereas this film has the power of..Pisharody and Panicker. Too often the film relies on Mammotty the actor to avoid total capitulation. There is a huge ensemble cast that comes and goes, and very few stay with you, Mukesh's role is all too brief. Sai Kumar tries but he is saddled with some horrible scenes (where he remembers Chacko and Sethuramiyer). Asha Sarath is left with some unforgettable dialogues like 'CBI team must fail'. Dileesh Pothen looks more like a goon than a CM. Kottayam Ramesh is reliable as usual. Sudev Nair sleep-walks through his role as usual, while Anoop Menon is initially okay but switches to his usual over-acting towards the end. He has a worthy competitor in Soubin Shahir, who is literally unsahikkable. The laziness with which the film has been conceived is most evident by how the cast were selected. There are many other actors and actresses who have nothing much to do.

      Writing: The investigation starts with a whimper, and the screenplay lacks any coherence or connectivity between the incidents. The climax is interesting in how Sethurama Iyer solves the puzzle, but the motive is very lazily sketched and regressive to boot. The initial scenes involving Sai Kumar and Sudev Nair are just going through the motions-the movie would have served its purpose better with the immediate entry of Iyer, especially as this was a CBI case flashback. The film does start to become engaging after the scene with Vikram and the 2nd half is comparatively better prior to the climax. However, the modus operandi of the enemy in killing the victims has already been explored in a previous Malayalam film
       Click to show spoiler

      . Thus the crime method lacks novelty. Simply uttering 'basket killings' every now and then doesn't make the movie any more exciting. For all the cast's emphasis on how challenging the case is, it just didn't seem exciting from a viewer's POV. The writer missed a golden opportunity to bring an aged Sethurama Iyer to solve one final case, which would have brought some freshness to the narrative. The male gaze and mockery of illicit affairs and females is an additional sore point.

      Direction: What makes the movie watchable is the slick editing by the experienced Sreekar Prasad. This especially aids the weak initial portions, as the smoothness between each scene ensures we don't run for the exit. However, the making style is outdated and though it is 2022, we are as well watching a movie set in the 2000's if not 90's, with slow-motion frames and walks. There are attempts to bring stylish frames which do not match the energy of the characters (as pointed out by Snoopy). The climax does not have any sense of excitement and we are left with over-the-top theatricality. The directors also failed to bring out effective performances from the vast majority of the supporting cast. Still, there is a briskness to events and pacing that ensure the film isn't a boring experience.

      Technical aspects: What was all the more disappointing was the poor adapted score by Jakes Bejoy. It was not memorable enough and either Sushin Shyam or re-tweaking the original score would have made the film more entertaining. There's nothing special about the visuals while there is too much of an effort to show modern offices and technology in spite of the outdated making style. As pointed out earlier today by others, the costumes for Iyer reflected a lack of vibrancy and energy too.

      Sethurama Iyer: As expected, the film's biggest strength is Mammotty who does not miss a beat in this latest iteration of Iyer. I must say it was a performance notches above Micheal in Bheeshmaparvam and the actor's voice modulation and dialogue delivery was-for the most part-in sync and tune with the Iyer we know and love. I especially enjoyed his narration of the Rajiv Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi assassinations-a scene where he put his voice to good use. Yes, there are scenes where the voice falters and lacks energy-but nonetheless his screen presence and performance helps this film from reaching the lowest depths. That said, a film with an older Mammotty more suiting his age would have resulted in a better and novel product overall.

      All in all, it's not a terrible film. But my memories of the CBI series have been somewhat tarnished. For the love of Iyer and his team, it's better this film remains forgotten. Some series and characters are best left in their past glory. If another installment is to come, some fresh new blood and a creative approach, is a must.

      2.5/5

    2. #2
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      Quote Originally Posted by Aravind Krishnan View Post
      That said, a film with an older Mammotty more suiting his age would have resulted in a better and novel product overall.
      We have seen movies on an ageing Sherlock Holmes, Rocky Balboa etc..their struggles to with their own age and the ways and pace of the new world were interesting additions to the central plot. But, I guess we will have to wait a bit more to see an aged Sethurama Iyer.

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      thanks

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      Quote Originally Posted by sethumadhavan View Post
      But, I guess we will have to wait a bit more to see an aged Sethurama Iyer.
      nammade okke shashtipoorthikku nokkiyaa mathi

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      Quote Originally Posted by sethumadhavan View Post
      We have seen movies on an ageing Sherlock Holmes, Rocky Balboa etc..their struggles to with their own age and the ways and pace of the new world were interesting additions to the central plot. But, I guess we will have to wait a bit more to see an aged Sethurama Iyer.
      He is already 70. Would be a real shame if we don't get that version of Sethurama Iyer soon.

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      Thanks AK

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      Quote Originally Posted by Aravind Krishnan View Post
      He is already 70. Would be a real shame if we don't get that version of Sethurama Iyer soon.

      Nadakkilla...

      Age in reverse gear ennokke paranju fansum mediayum thallividukayalle...

      Oro age inum oro bhangi undu... we have to respect and love our age! allathe eppozhum 30karan aayi irikkanulla sramam nallathalla....

      Ippol thanne Mammoottiye kanumpol oru Plastic Prathima pole thonnarundu... Natural alla....

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      Quote Originally Posted by Madhu-Murali View Post

      Nadakkilla...

      Age in reverse gear ennokke paranju fansum mediayum thallividukayalle...

      Oro age inum oro bhangi undu... we have to respect and love our age! allathe eppozhum 30karan aayi irikkanulla sramam nallathalla....

      Ippol thanne Mammoottiye kanumpol oru Plastic Prathima pole thonnarundu... Natural alla....

    9. #9
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      Dileesh Pothen looks more like a goon than a CM.
      വാ...


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      Quote Originally Posted by ittichen View Post
      Dileesh Pothen looks more like a goon than a CM.
      You think it was not entirely unintentional?

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