If anyone had doubts about why virtually every movie buff in Malayalam laments about the levels to which the films here have stooped, watch Pokkiri Raja. With no storyline worth mentioning, this one is just meant for the gallery, or more specifically, for the fans of Mammootty and Prithviraj. Their repeated close-ups, heroics, dialogues and the gimmickry remind some of those yesteryear Tamil masala movies at best!
As it is a custom in most of the movies of the genre in Malayalam these days, this film also begins with some flashback sequences, when the heroes were young and gets involved in certain scuffles with a rival gang. The elder one, Raja (Mammootty), moves to Madurai and becomes a don there. He sports a walrus moustache, speaks in broken English meant to evoke laughs and travels in a swanky BMW, religiously followed by more than a dozen Innova cars.
Before Raja makes his entry, almost the entire first half is focused on his younger brother Surya (Prithviraj) and his escapades. Both the men can beat any number of thugs to a pulp, sing, dance or mouth sensational dialogues. Soon, Raja comes on time when Surya is in trouble, the song-dance-dialogues-fight cycle repeats.
It is a rather poor hotchpotch of sequences from Rajamanikyam, Annan Thampi, Puthiya Mugham, Boeing Boeing (Salim Kumar trying to ape Jagathy’s funny act with less finesse) and from several other films. Of course, there is no problem in having films which are just meant to entertain the viewers and the kind that ask them to leave their brains back home. But then, such films should have at least a half decent storyline and some nice moments. No such luck here!
What the film succeeds in the end is providing some fantastic visuals while the heroes make their appearance and both have been presented in super style. Mammootty and Prithviraj look handsome in their own way and the scenarist duo of Siby K Thomas and Udayakrishna have succeeded in allotting almost equal footage to them. Vysakh has done his bit to give style to every frame, with the heroes in it. But at around two hours and forty five minutes the film is tad too lengthy, especially for a loud one like this.
Shriya Saran plays Prithviraj’s pair in the film and she has nothing much to do other than to look pretty. Siddique and Riyas Khan play the baddies, though they look like mere caricatures, at the hands of the heroes. Suraj Venjarammood and Salim Kumar try their best to tickle the funny bones with their usual buffoonery, but generally fall flat. Shaji’s visuals look good and Jassie Gift’s compositions suit the mood.