Shylock (2020) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen


All said and done, ‘Shylock’ could strike you as the ultimate entertainer if you happen to be a die-hard fan, looking forward to watching his screen idol in an indomitable avatar. For the rest, it is hardly anything beyond a much-told tale that has been re-stitched with bits of pieces of star adulation intended to fit the towering charisma of its star.


In his latest film ‘Shylock’, director Ajai Vasudev indulges in an unapologetically vibrant celebration of the persona of its lead actor, and everything else including the plot is rendered secondary in the process. Loudly proclaiming that this is a film that has no intention of making a creative cinematic statement, ‘Shylock’ is more a gala tribute to its star than anything else.

Mammootty plays Boss in the film, a money lender who has apparently been the messiah to many a film producer in distress. Flanked on either side by his assistants (Baiju and Hareesh Kanaran), he is the kind of man who swaggers into a dance bar and royally sinks into a sofa, only to be encircled by the enamoured girls in no time.

When he is not busy making mincemeat of a few thugs at dance bars, he is seen locking horns with Prathapan (Kalabhavan Shajon) and the Police Commissioner (Siddique). Reason? Prathapan pretends ignorance when asked about the loans that he had taken and the Commissioner who is his ally, is already neck deep in shady deals with the bad guy.

Boss is no ordinary adversary as they soon realize, and it takes a while before he decides to indulge in a flashback. The scene shifts to Theni, where a rich, good hearted money lender (Raj Kiran) and his wife (Meena) and their entire family live in peace, until the man does the folly of lending some money to a film producer in Kerala.

The dots and the missing pieces easily connect and Ajai Vasudev gets the entire tale intact in no time. There aren’t that many digressions or subplots, and the story is pretty straight forward, and one that you have seen a million times. But as they say, in scenarios as these, questions should never be asked, and answers would probably be never provided.

It doesn’t take long however to realize the extent to which ‘Shylock’ remains besotted with the stardom of its actor. ‘Boss Heroyaadaa..’ asserts the script in one such instance, while in another the display board on the dance bar comes up with ‘Megastar’, even as Boss reclines a bit further on his seat, declaring once and for all that he is here to stay. There are plenty of other instances in the script as well, making you wonder if cinema in this corner of the world has not really progressed beyond all these flagrant assertions of star worship.

Playing Boss must have been a cakewalk for Mammootty, and it remains that there are takers without doubt, and scores of them at that, for this massively popular incarnation of his. This is no performance that demands an assessment, and you get to see the actor having a ball in general, grinning and sniggering, joking around and eventually having his way with the men who have dared to cross his way.

Neither does this tale require a detailed analysis, for it all comes back to some point that you have already been to, and there is hardly anything that you haven’t seen or heard in it. The plot design is familiar, and so are the devices employed in it, and even the characters appear to have walked straight in, from several other flicks that you have formerly watched.

All said and done, ‘Shylock’ could strike you as the ultimate entertainer if you happen to be a die-hard fan, looking forward to watching his screen idol in an indomitable avatar. For the rest, it is hardly anything beyond a much-told tale that has been re-stitched with bits of pieces of star adulation intended to fit the towering charisma of its star.


Verdict: Fan Fluff


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