Action Hero Biju could as well be a serialised graphic novel; it doesn't have a definite storyline as such, and yet isn't your regular testosterone booster combined with theatre popcorn. Sub Inspector Biju isn't a superhero; he was quite a few top-gun action sequences short of being made into one, which director Abrid Shine shied away from, giving the film and the cop a credible standing.
If in his debut film, 1983, Abrid Shine gently put across an even gentler story of cricket fanaticism; here, he has created a cop who is his idea of the cop of the hour. Biju (Nivin Pauly) is a common man's police officer and as the director's placard across the screen before the movie — 'A ride with a police inspector' — read, we're moving with the man, his way of dealing with the people, their complaints, and their life that imbues hilarity, aches, and misgivings.
The camera largely hovers around the police station; the action mostly starts from there, comprising the everyday incidents a police force of a particular ward attend to, and Biju along with his accomplices including Joju George and Prajod Kalabhavan do an uproariously great job of tending to disharmony.
The robust screenplay and fantastic editing make sure that one doesn't get a snooze break. The way the incidents are duct-taped together, and how pieces of the puzzle, though spread out at one point, collude to make sense, are well accomplished. The sequences, though tending towards the 'good' way of life, keep it straight without getting preachy. (Again, it's Biju's way of looking at it, which the director had disambiguated with his initial disclaimer that somehow separates the viewer from Biju's commandments, keeping her sensibilities largely to herself)
Nivin Pauly goes a long way as the sly-smiling, mustache-twirling, manhandling Sub-inspector whose flying repartees hit bulls-eye. Backed by a sturdy script, he gets ample screen-space and exploits it to great effect. A mention of the fantabulous cast—a handful of unfamiliar faces light the laughter crackers, the sparks of which burn bright even after the movie.
An unassuming actor-director Jude Anthany Joseph kicks off a trail of good situational comedy; Suraj Venjaramoodu quietly takes away the prize as quietly as he made his entry. Saiju Kurup, Rohini and Major Ravi play their parts well, even though their parts aren't as consequential.
Jerry Amaldev's antiquated song fits well into the film; the shorter tunes make for great additions as well. Cinematographer Alex J. Pulickal has plunged into some great aerial shots of Cochin harbour—bewitching. The Kochi slang, running through different class structures, change in phonetic styles, which is interestingly added in.
With a salute to the cops, who sweat their ways through their duties and moral obligations, Abrid Shine leaves a sparkling note of thanks before the screen blackout. And all the while, we're rooting for the good cop; the one who can hammer strike and bludgeon the blues out, quietly confident about the fact that he is, indeed, the people's action hero.
Onmanorama Rating: 3.5/5