About Kannur Squad
Why is the mighty Mammootty making so many movies? Is it some kind of an antidote to a midlife crisis? Some of what he has done recently like Puzhu, has no doubt been worth his while. But the majority of his recent work is plainly a spacefiller in his illustrious career.
Plot and Performance:
Kannur Squad, about a team of cops on the trail of a bunch of ruthless robbers trying to cross the border to Nepal, is clearly a slapdash effort to make a fast buck with speed as a replacement for substance. And any hope of a coherent plot is left behind as the brave bunch of bandit chasers speed in their police vehicles with no pause for any cause except applause.
The film was a success in Kerala and is still playing in theaters. But it is now streaming. Does that make any more sense than some of the plot devices in the breathless but simplistic plot? Action is the key to the exacerbated but exasperating moves of the screenwriters (Muhammed Shafi, Raoni David Raj).
The writers pull out all the stops to give Mammootty’s role as Assistant Sub-Inspector George Martin team spirit. No doubt the actors playing Mammootty’s teammates Jose (Azees Nedumangad), Jayan (Rony David Raj), and Shafi (Shabareesh Varma) have more to do than Mammootty’s co-stars usually do. Each one has a distinct character. One of George's teams is even tainted by a bribery charge. But George stands by the tainted cop, arguing that he needed the money.
So did Telgi, I guess.
The moral compass in Kannur Squad doesn’t quite work the way it is meant to in cop movies, and that works to this agitated film’s advantage. Catching the culprits is critical. The means for doing so are not weighed on a moral scale. Cinematographer-turned-director Roby Varghese Raj keeps the action mode on almost throughout. It seems as though the key action scenes were conceived first and then a plot was woven around them.
But be warned: this is not the sophisticated action of Pathaan and Tiger. This is the raw earthy hand-to-hand type of combat where man puts his ‘beast’ feet forward. One particular encounter between the cop heroes and angry villagers in a place called Tikri has lots of fire and ferocity. But it all seems a little stagey, as though the brief to the action director was to let Mammootty Sir have fun with the stunts, but only after keeping in mind his age. This cautiously choreographed action is both welcome and a bit of a damper if you are looking for slick stunts.
Interestingly,the plunderers speak in Hindi, while the virtuous cops speak in Malayali. This is a very Malayali plot device: to pin the crime on ‘outsiders’ who, in this case, don’t even look unusually menacing. Maybe that’s the whole idea: beware of the guy fixing your plumbing in the kitchen; he could be a Bihari or Uttar Pradeshi migrant waiting to clean you out.
Kannur Squad races through a wealth of politically incorrect chase sequences until we reach the climax in a jungle where the crime team led by Ameer Shah (Arjun Radhakrishnan) meets their nemesis in the hands of crimebusters.
Mammootty's fans are happy. The rest of humanity can go fly a kite. Curiously, there are no female characters in the film. It is easier to belch when women are not around.
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