Banner: Sree Uthrittathy Films
Cast: Mammootty, Sanjana Sinha, Lalu Alex, Kalabhavan Mani, Sai Kumar, Innocent, Baburaj, Sreejith Ravi, Mariya, Tulip Joshy, Salimkumar, Fareedha, Kiran Raan, Kalshaala Babu
Direction: Major Ravi
Production: Sahi Ayyanchira
Music: Vayalar Sharth, Jaison J Nair
It is a welcome trend that new Malayalam filmmakers are taking the industry to new heights and direction. Films like Keerthi Chakra, Speed Track and Big B are examples of the new turn of events in our cinema.
Very rarely do films live up to the rave reviews of the privileged audiences. ”Mission 90 days” does that in 132 minutes of riveting fare, unrelenting in pace and unwavering in purpose. It’s an authentic reconstruction of the mission to capture the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. The film without sequins, cardboard heroes, fisticuffs, filthy comedy and females with fabric allergy may find it hard to appeal to a formula friendly audience.
But overall it is a good film that must be encouraged so that some young directors may get the inspiration to think beyond the regularly beaten track.
The success of the film is mainly due to its presentation. This time it is the director’s interpretation of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination. Of course, we cannot forget the fantastic work done by the technical department and memorable and honest portrayal by its actors. Its story is authentic, narration looking real with genuine emotions.
Mission 90 Days is a film that shocks as well as surprises you. The film is based on investigations that occurred in Chennai and Bangalore after a group of Tamil tigers were found responsible for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The incidents have been narrated as they happened, minus any masala. The narration is gripping, and the director has managed to maintain edge-of-the seat storytelling especially in the later half. You will relate to incidents as they unfold and the film will definitely bring back memories, some of them horrifying.
In the film Mammooty is Major Shivram who is called upon as the leader of the commandos attached to the NSG, who stormed the hideout of the one-eyed Sivarasan, the LTTE leader, the mastermind behind the assassination of the former prime minister. The film has also a little family sentiment as Shivram is basically a man from a village with loving people around with a beautiful wife played by Tulip Joshi, a friend in Salim Kumar and ex military father who knows the importance and dedication of job in armed forces. The only point where the director shows his lack of strengths is perhaps dealing with these family affairs.
The film cleverly does not deal with the political aspects behind the assassination of one of India’s most loved Prime Ministers. In fact the film scripts praises on him for sending the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to Sri Lanka and thereby keeping Srilanka from the eagle eyes of US who planned to storm into the island with the help of Pak forces. It bases on true happenings and uses actual incidents during the investigation and real names for characters in the film, and also put the blame of not capturing Sivarasan alive on the senior’s officers.
The government of India constituted SIT a day after Rajiv Gandhi assassination, and Major Sivaram a dare devil officer with a proven track record is put in charge to hunt down the killers. All they were asked to be to – “Catch Sivarasan alive, before he consumes the deadly cyanide”. This was a new mission for the commandos who were always ordered to kill the enemies than to catch them alive. The film clearly demonstrates how we can give anti dots to save those who consumed cyanide. Shivram in his ventures gets the logical support of his bosses Partipan, the SIT chief and DIG Raju (Lalu Alex)
After tracing out Nalini and Murugan, the SIT finds the team to the conspirator Sivarasan hiding in a house in Bangalore. The Highlight of the film is definitely the last 15 minutes of the climax mission. As per their plans, Sivaram and his team, who have silently and steadily moved and covered the house where the killers are staying. They are moving in for the final kill under the cover of darkness, waiting for orders from higher up’s sitting in Delhi, to start the operations. But the bosses delayed the order to take credits which finally resulted in non accomplishment of the mission, as everyone knows.
The director who in real life, was a part of this encounter mission, has effectively etched out the trials and tribulations he had to face in the final moments of the operation, through Major Sivaram. Like his earlier film, he shows his ability to slip between tones, while retaining its gritty credibility and imparts a strong message of patriotism.
And the film gives a clean chit to the IPKF, by showing a friendship and the policy dialogues between Major Sivaram and a LTTE cadre! Just remember a year ago, LTTE ideologue Anton Balasingham pleaded with Indians to forgive and forget the episode. The outfit, isolated and rendered friendless, is now on this show of remorse.
Mammootty as Major Sivaram is once aging in the helm of activity to make this one work with his riveting performance and style of investigation. He looks younger than before in a tailor made role .The glamour quotient of the stylized actor and his dialogue delivery especially in the climax, livens up the film. Every others in the crew including Baburaj, Lalu Alex and Abu Salim brings out inspiring performances than their usual outings
Going by the way it is all packaged, the director gets a perfect ten. His dialogues are crisp, narration has good pace, camera angles and lighting by Thiru, match the mood and the background score by Gopi Sunder fits perfectly. A word of admiration also must go to the editor Jayashankar and the art director and the special effects team in EFX. Best of all, the film is not too gory, even though the story has all the elements to make it such. The director restrains himself by not allowing the film to deviate into the regular commercial format except in the opening few reels.
The other misses of the film is a loose script that never come any where near his debut film Keerthy Chakra.The director difficultly places a song in the film taking care of its commercial aspects. The other pitfall in commercial success line is the extensive use of Tamil in the film, which may not be an attractive equation for families.
Overall, Watching Mission 90 days will visibly surprise us for the great quality of visuals and slickness in which the director packed the entire episode of tracing Sivarasan. That too when considered that he was an army personal with no formal training in film making. It must be a wonder to complete such a movie of big magnitude in just 29 days, in such a superb technical quality….Hats off, Major…