Art & Entertainment

'Malaikottai Vaaliban' On Disney+ Hotstar Movie Review: This Mohanlal Starrer Is Visually Appealing But Has A Shaky Plot

Outlook Rating:
2.5 / 5

Starring Mohanlal, 'Malaikottai Vaaliban' is now streaming on Disney+ Hotstar. Is this epic period drama worth watching? Or you can choose to skip it? Read the full review to find out.

Advertisement

IMDb
Mohanlal in 'Malaikottai Vaaliban' Photo: IMDb
info_icon

Mohanlal surprised his fans last year when he chose to step away from the roles he commonly takes. With ‘Neru’, the actor did something that he had never done before. And he delivered to perfection. He proved why after over 400 films he is still the most sought-after actor in the industry. For 2024, the actor sought to go back to his comfort zone and do the roles that he is widely known for. He collaborated with Lijo Jose Pellissery for the first time. Their period action drama titled ‘Malaikottai Vaaliban’ shows the actor in his full glory. After running in theatres, the film is now available to stream on Disney+ Hotstar. Here’s all that you need to know about Mohanlal starrer ‘Malaikottai Vaaliban.’

Advertisement

‘Malaikottai Vaaliban’: Story

Malaikottai Vaaliban’ revolves around the story of a warrior who can fight with anyone and emerge as the winner. Malaikottai Vaaliban (Mohanlal) moves from village to village on his bullock cart. He is accompanied by his mentor Ayyanar (Hareesh Peradi) and his foster brother, Chinnapayyan (Manoj Moses). As they move to villages, they fight and Vaaliban emerges as the winner. When they are traversing a desert, they come across a limping woman – Jamanthipoovu (Katha Nandi), who is looking for a ride.

As Vaaliban continues to triumph in fights and claims territories, he faces challenges from the man he had previously defeated – Chamathakan (Danish Sait). The story takes a turn when Rangapattinam Rangarani (Sonalee Kulkarni) a dancer, misinterprets Vaaliban's relationship with Jamanthipoovu. Jamanthipoovu is killed by Chamathakan who is always seeking revenge. As events unfold during temple festivities, Vaaliban mistakenly kills Chinnappaiyyan and that drives a wedge between him and Ayyanar. The story ends with Ayyanar and Vaaliban coming together to fight.

Advertisement

‘Malaikottai Vaaliban’: Performances

Let’s start talking about the performances with the lead actor of the film, Mohanlal. The actor looks like he is in his comfort zone with this character. The way he has sunk his teeth into the role shows how much fun he had while playing Vaaliban. I have no complaints about Mohanlal in this role. The 63-year-old actor got the action sequences right. The actor has a screen presence that others can only dream of achieving. When he is on the screen, you tend to ignore everything and everyone else. It proves that there can be no other Mohanlal ever.

Coming to Manoj Moses who played the role of Chinnapayyan, the actor supported Mohanlal’s character well. He did not steal his limelight when they both were on screen. He played the role of a brother with ease. But in scenes where it was just him portraying his pain and anguish, he really makes you feel for him.

When Danish Sait’s character was introduced, I thought he would be just another passing character. But the comedian and actor showed that he is a man of many talents. As an antagonist, he makes you hate his character. But he also makes you wait and watch what he has in store for Vaaliban. I knew he would lose and meet his death, but because he embodied the menacing quality well, I could not help but look out for him.

Advertisement

Hareesh Peradi plays the role of the doting Ayyanar. At least that’s what he makes you feel until the end of the film. But the way his character took a 180-degree turn was commendable. What was also commendable is how he embodied this change smoothly. Not once did it feel jagged or distorted.

Sonalee Kulkarni and Katha Nandi also had prominent roles to play, but these two women were reduced to mere cheerleaders for the men.

‘Malaikottai Vaaliban’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects

What works for ‘Malaikottai Vaaliban’ apart from Mohanlal is the cinematography. The cinematography by Madhu Neelakandan is the star of the show. From the beginning to the end, the shots of the movie are extremely beautiful. You can pause the film at any second and the shot will look straight out of an art gallery. The camera work is commendable. The scenes transition and blend into one another smoothly and sometimes it feels like you are looking at a piece of art.

Advertisement

But frankly, that is the only good thing I can say about the film. The action sequences just aren’t smooth at all. Yes, Mohanlal has delivered his best. But that isn’t enough. They do not look convincing at all. While at one point, I do understand that the film is an epic drama, some fight scenes just look OTT.

Talking about the fight scenes, another thing that brings the movie down is the use of unnecessary slow motion in between shots. The slow motion just breaks the flow of the narrative. You use slow motion to assert something. But when it’s done in every five scenes, it just bores you and it makes you feel like you are scrolling your Instagram feed.

Advertisement

The script is so and so. Certain parts could have been easily edited and shortened. For example, what was the point of showing the colonial rulers when their defeat is not where the film ends? The script needed to be tighter to deliver a compelling narrative. The songs just did not do justice to the film. You could easily skip them and not lose out on any plot. The songs add nothing to the plot. They do not even help set the tone of the film.

‘Malaikottai Vaaliban’: Cast & Crew

Director: Lijo Jose Pellissery

Screenplay: P. S Rafeeque

Producer: Shibu Baby John, Achu Baby John, Vikram Mehra, Siddharth Anand Kumar, M. C. Philip, Jacob K. Babu

Advertisement

Cast: Mohanlal, Sonalee Kulkarni, Hareesh Peradi, Danish Sait, Manoj Moses, Katha Nandi, Manikandan R. Achari

Available On: Disney+ Hotstar

Duration: 2 Hour 36 Minutes

‘Malaikottai Vaaliban’: Can Kids Watch It?

No. The action scenes can be sensitive for the young audience.

Outlook’s Verdict

If you are aware of Lijo Jose Pellissery’s work, you know you have to expect the unexpected. But when you have Mohanlal on board, you know you have to hit the nail on its head. You cannot deliver an underwhelming story because the actor will give it his all. ‘Malaikottai Vaaliban’ feels like an injustice to Mohanlal. It’s sad to see the actor go above and beyond in a story that feels like it is all over the place. The film needs more than just Mohanlal and beautiful cinematography. It lacks the gravitas to make it a compelling watch. It needed just a little bit more substance and it would have been perfect. I was disappointed when the film ended and it was revealed that there is a sequel on its way. The film does not need a sequel. What the sequel has in store could have been shown in this film if the unnecessary parts were not given much screen time. The movie makes for a good one-time watch, and that’s just about it. I am going with 2.5 stars.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement