Have a piece of the 'fan mindset' if you are going to watch Mammootty's Masterpiece.
An action thriller that explores Mammootty's heroic elements to the maximum, this film is an attempt to tell a crime story in the backdrop of a campus.
Though packed with action and suspense, the film has a shaky plot that doesn't look convincing. However, Mammootty does a solo ride to keep the film moving at a fast pace with his stunts.
Much of the film takes place on the campus which witnesses a murder, and the investigation into the crime leads to the suicide of another student. Now, the needle of suspicion turns to another student. The hero of the film, Edward Livingstone (Mammootty), makes his entry to the campus at such a tense moment. Then on, he literally takes over - not only the scene but also the investigation. A standoff between the campus and the police as Livingstone tries to shield the accused students from being arrested makes up the rest of the film before the murder mystery is revealed in a dramatic sequence.
The director, Ajai Vasudev, tries to make a treat for Mammootty fans but stock sequences and characters play spoilsport. Livingstone the hero is established time and again through his encounters with all those who come in his way, be it his students, colleagues or the police officers. Mammootty's mannerisms cheer up the spirit of fans but the punch dialogs do not evoke the desired response at times.
In a clear response to the criticism that some of his earlier films faced for being 'misogynistic,' Mammootty's character in this film says, at least three times, that 'I respect women.' However, the frames and shots that explore female physique whenever there is a chance make it clear that the film as a whole does not have much to do with the lead character's claim.
Veteran actor Captain Raju comes as himself and is made to self troll in a bid to evoke some laughter. However, many of the comic sequences involving Pasahanam Shaji, Bijukuttan and Santhosh Pandit fall flat.
Though the director has tried to give a full picture of the campus, the total absence of student outfits, that too in a government college, is unconvincing, to say the least. The campus in total remains a carbon copy of the typical colleges in popular cinema.
After Mammootty, Unni Mukundan and Kalabhavan Shajon take much of the screen space with their neat performance as John Thekkan IPS and SI Chandran. Varalaxmi Sarathkumar comes as investigation officer Bhavani Durga while Poonam Bajwa plays Smitha, a college professor who has a crush on Livingstone.
The film hosts a group of young actors but their amateur performance remains an area of concern.
'Masterpiece' is a one-time watch during the festival season. But the point to remember is that 'masala' doesn't make a real masterpiece.