Malik is a saga, spanning over a period of 5 decades. It’s the story of Suleiman Ali (Fahadh Faasil). It shows the shenanigans the politicians wield and in the name of religion keep dividing people. Its about friendships, its about families, its about corruption, its about ambition, its about perspectives of right and wrong.
Suleiman from a very young age indulges in petty crimes and as he grows up so does the measure of his crimes. From tying up a teacher in school toilet to smuggling to murder. Suleiman lives in a coastal village Ramadapally. The only occupation is fishing, till Suleiman and his friends find a way to smuggle foreign goods in to the village via the sea. Thus he grows in stature and reach. Starting from perfumes and cosmetics to now smuggling white goods to guns. Slowly changing the fortunes of the village. He also is the Robin-hood to the villagers and provides them with education, opportunities, work and shelter. However, the village is populated by Muslims and Christians. Living in complete harmony and having each other’s back. Suleiman opens a school in the village and has declared equal rights to the school for Muslims and Christians. In a crisis, he fights the Masjid Jamat to open up the masjid for Christians too. Suleiman’s best friend and partner in all his crimes is David (Vinay Forrt). And Suleiman is married to David’s sister Rosalyn (Nimisha Sajayan). But despite been the good, caring compassionate guy that he is, in the eyes of the law he is a criminal. And a eyesore to his detractors – police and politicians. Who instigate a riot between the two communities and aspire to continue to rule without the demanding and threatening Suleiman.
Other than them the only other person not happy with the feats of Suleiman is his mother. She realizes that the ways adopted by her son can never justify the results. And Suleiman yearns for the approval of his mother. Find it very similar to the stories in Deewar and Agneepath where a gangster son is seeking approval from the mother, who just does not budge.
The movie is very grippingly made. The opening shot is a 12 minute single shot and that sets the tone. The cinematography is top class and so is the art direction. The whole village of Ramadapally is built on 6 acre land near the sea and looks authentic. The camera angles and the color pallet makes Kerala look indeed like God’s own country. Initially the characters, names and sequence of events appear a little overwhelming. Its difficult to place names on faces and relations into context but as the movie progresses, its sings like a symphony.
The movie is narrated in three flash back sequences – Suleiman’s Mother, David and Suleiman. Each giving a perspective to the life and story of Suleiman. The flashback from Suleiman’s mother’s view is of his childhood and early youth and dabbling with law. Thru David’s flashback its about his rise and rise as a mafia. And finally thru his own version, the events that leads him to where he is.
The screenplay and direction is top class.
The back ground score is well attuned and the action sequences very realistic.
Nimisha Sajayan as Roselyn is very well played. She is the only educated person in the village and supports Suleiman thru thick and thin. She understands politics and the motives. She is very contrary to the female lead, as we see in Hindi cinema. She does not have glamorous looks but that’s what makes her so real. She has done a fabulous job
Other actors playing other roles – Dileesh Pothan, Joju George, Sanal Aman, Jalaja have all done very well
Finally Fahadh Faasil, how good is he? Its once in a life time role for an actor. You cant imagine anyone else playing Suleiman Ali Ikka. The expressions, the dialogue delivery, his hold on the film and most importantly he never tries to grab attention and that’s what makes his performance so remarkable. And his progression from an exuberant youth to a aging man is portrayed so well. The sunken eyes, the hunch, the emotion-less look. He surely is the top contender for the National Award for the best actor.
On doing some research I realized that the story is not completely a work of fiction but highly influenced by the events in the coastal region in the 80s and 90s. including the riots between Muslims and Christians.