Midhun Manuel Thomas fails to work his magic in Jayaram starrer Abraham Ozler
Abraham Ozler (Malayalam)(2.5 / 5)
From the moment a child, the same girl who played the adorable narrator in Bhavana’s Ntikkakkakkoru Premondarnn, calls her middle-aged father (Jayaram) by name and he responds like a tired man in a Glucose ad, “Molu”, you hear the first warning bells. It is only the beginning of Abraham Ozler, a medical thriller, and to be fair, too early to write off a film. Unfortunately, the hunch turns out to be true, as sequence after sequence the fakeness of it all is so pronounced that it becomes difficult to absorb anything else – including the whodunit. Midhun Manuel Thomas, the director who made the gripping Anjaam Pathiraa – a finely made thriller that keeps you on tenterhooks – relies on some amateur writing and theatrics for Abraham Ozler, which is at best an average whodunit that you can watch once to know ‘who did it’.
The writing is by Dr Randheer Krishnan, which explains the medical part of the script. A lot of it revolves around hospitals, a medical college, and doctors. Crimes occur one after another in hospitals, where a mysterious killer leaves a message on a birthday card. Jayaram, playing an Assistant Commissioner of Police who is diagnosed with depression, hallucinates birds and animals as he begins his investigation. The grey in his beard is supposed to have increased because he can’t “let go” of his sad past and suffers from insomnia. However, as the investigation proceeds, the birds and animals disappear though the grey remains: either he gets better when he works or else the writer forgot to add these details later on.
Those are the lesser flaws though and not as lame as the dialogue or the compelling need to rely on music for the racy parts. Some detailing has gone into every single crime, as several characters associated with every victim appear and are revisited later. Naturally in a murder mystery, the victims cannot be mere numbers but are expected to have a connecting thread that is also linked to the killer. In Ozler, the viewer is not left to grope in the dark, and the identity of the killer is revealed step by step – the gender, the appearance, the voice, the face. The makers have got the formula right – keep the suspense, throw viewers off the scent, let their curiosity build. It is in the dramatisation that the film falters. Someone forgot to tell the makers that people don’t talk like that or react like that or even gesture like that. Amateur is written all over the scripting.
Nonetheless, fans of the genre and of Malayalam cinema have something to get a kick out of, especially towards the latter half, with the cameo of a superstar. Admittedly, the superstar’s entry and its timing has been properly used, so it has its effect. But that can’t singlehandedly carry the film. The performances by Jayaram, the actors playing his assistants – Arya Salim and Senthil Krishna – and others like Jagadish, Anaswara Rajan, Saiju Kurup, and Arjun Ashokan – appear sometimes resigned, sometimes sincere, but are mostly unaffecting, for no fault of theirs.
The film ends with the possibility of a sequel. Here is hoping that Midhun will get his act together again and make it right the next time around.
Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the producers or any other members of its cast and crew.