What’s the whole fuss about this film called Malik. Why is it being considered a masterpiece? Are we just being biased, or is there actually something that makes this one stand out of the crowd? Haven’t we seen enough movies that capture the life of a gangster and orchestrate heroic moments accompanied by a kickass background sound? So let’s discuss what makes Malik so potent, and it is even potent at all.
Heroism through the Ages
I have always believed that just because you show something larger than life or have moments of heroism in your screenplay, it doesn’t make your cinema any less. These moments I know, sometimes do not fall in line with our basic notion of realism. So we just repudiate it as being something frivolous. Creating genuine moments of heroism is a task in itself and a rarity when it comes to cinema. I can count on my fingers the moments which had that kind of grandeur. Be it Michal Corleone being crowned as the Don, Frank Underwood just knocking twice on the table, or Rocky Balboa not giving up even after he knew he would lose.
The secret sauce of Malik is nothing else but the soundness of every facet of filmmaking. Be it performance, screenplay, or just the pyrrhic background score that takes away something from and leaves a void inside you.
Is ‘Malik’ worth the hype?
You might say that the screenplay often reminds me of The Godfather or maybe a Gang of Wasseypur or the Kamal Hassan starrer Nayakan. These might be the inspirations, but Malik is never an imitation. The world created is authentic, and Mahesh Narayanan knows what he is doing.
The art of execution is also a very funny business. Sometimes things that look great on paper do not turn out to be good enough. And that’s where vision becomes very necessary. Even more than the performances. Sanu John Varughese, the cinematographer with Mahesh Narayanan, has created some stellar scenes. The research about the period, the socio-political conditions, and seeing Kerala over a span of 40-50 years was just breathtaking.
But even after all this, there is one aspect without which no research work or technical know-how can impact. And that is conviction in performance. In my personal opinion, to portray a character like Ahammad Ali Soleimani, you need to go beyond the craft. You have to reach that position where art is created and surrender 100% to the character. Where you don’t know where you are going to go, where you lose control, and you ride your stimulus to reach a place that is totally magical and unforeseen.
It is a journey that obviously finds its foundation in robust research work, but as we climb towards the peak, the reins loosen because the mind gets tuned.
I don’t know what Fahadh Faasil’s approach might have been, but indeed he has hit the bullseye. Scripts like these are an actor’s paradise, and most actors wouldn’t want to miss this kind of opportunity.
A Strange Concoction
Creating a heroic moment is a very delicate job. A notch higher, and you will be called commercial or massy. You go a notch low, and you don’t get the desired impact. Also, Malik reiterates that heroism isn’t only about your pecs and biceps. It is a strange concoction of many things. It’s like that complex Indian dish that needs to have just the right amount of spices. Somewhere between being too spicy and bland, there lies a realm of ideal flavors put in the most accurate amount. Malik is that perfectly cooked Indian dish for me. So all you have to do is bring your finest cutlery and enjoy the flavors of a well-made film.
Malik is a 2021 Malayalam Crime Thriller Film written, edited, and directed by Mahesh Narayanan. The film stars Fahadh Faasil in the lead role.