Friday, June 10, 2005

Sethuramayyar CBI



Mammooty returns to the role of the brainy CBI officer Sethuramayyar in Sethuramayyar CBI, the third installment in the series. The MO remains the same as the first two movies (Oru CBI Diary Kurippu and Jagratha) as he investigates a crime and wades through a sea of clues and suspects to solve it. It has too many unnecessary elements that affect the pace and has a few too many characters but still manages to be an interesting whodunnit.

Sethuramayyar(Mammootty), who now works in Delhi, is vacationing in his sister's house in Kerala when he learns that Alex('Kalabhavan' Mani'), a murderer who is on death row for killing seven people, wants to meet him. Alex accepts killing six of the victims but says that he did not kill the seventh one. Sethuramayyar, with Chacko(Mukesh) and a new assistant in tow, begins investigating to find out if Alex is telling the truth and if he is, who the real killer is.

Sethuramayyar CBI naturally sticks to the same story arc that worked the first two times. We get a large number of possible suspects with different links to the victim. There is one key element of the case that captures our interest(here its the word ISOW scribbled on the wall) and is eventually figured out by Mammootty. And the identity of the killer, revealed by Mammootty in a final monologue with all the suspects rounded up, is a nice surprise. So is the reference to an earlier throwaway comment by the killer that leads to suspicion falling on him.

In order to throw suspicion around, the movie has included too many characters and subplots. Due to nature of some of the characters, they are immediately evident as red herrings and so seem redundant. There are also one too many references to the first installment as we meet characters from that movie, get references to the investigating techniques used there and even hear one of the most popular lines from that film again. The movie also lays the foundation for a romance between Mammootty's niece and his new assistant but the casual way it is handled makes it seem more like filler.

Though it fails to match up to the quality of Oru CBI Diary Kurippu, Sethuramayyar CBI manages to keep Sethuramayyar's reputation intact. So we can look forward to the fourth installment, shooting for which has just gotten under way.

16 Comments:

At 12:05 AM, Anonymous ram said...

bj, nice write up as usual...
but after the truly surreal write-ups by our "guest writer" this seems like a trip back to earth...on cyber space (lotsa puns flowing around!)
ram

 
At 9:31 AM, Blogger Ram.C said...

Nice review..

BTW..how did you find time for watching the movie & this review, BB?

 
At 3:13 PM, Blogger Rajesh said...

I'm a big fan of malayalam movies. In the malayalam movie industry, they seem to have had very successfull sequels to original films actually. The Mohanlal and Srinivasan trilogy of Nadodikkattu, Pattanapravesam, and Akkareyakkareyakkare to add.

The CBI movies have a special place in my heart. The original was of course great. The sequel Jagratha and the subsequent Sethuramayyar CBI were also successful. I enjoyed Sethuramayyar quiet a bit. I agree that it kept the Sethuramayyar's reputation intact, but also thought it was a great movie further from that. It was definitely more intelligent than some most Bollywood fare. I kind of enjoyed the family moments in the film. I'm sure they placed them to make the movie more commercially saleable, but it also made it so people like me could watch it with our parents and enjoy it. If it was just the plot specific elements, I would not have enjoyed the family outing as much I don't think. My mom always gets excited when Navya Nair comes on screen no matter which movie. I'm sure the filmmakers intended this.

I'd also like to add that the 4th installment of the CBI movies will be the first time a 3rd sequel has been made to a movie in India. It's amazing that the CBI franchise has been so successful. I can't wait for it.

Raj

 
At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Prakash said...

Boo... Hiss... Bring back our guest writer!

Seriously Balaji, something that's been puzzling me for a long time. How on earth do you find the time to watch so many movies AND write detailed reviews! Wish I had your time management skills ...

 
At 5:29 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

ram, i understand. after the last few days and the 3 posts, this one seemed quite trivial. but hey, life goes on right? :-)

ramc, gotta admit i watched this movie and started writing the review before the li'l one arrived. just wrapped it up yesterday! but i have already watch a full movie(hindi) after his arrival too :) he spends most of his time sleeping anyway. thank god for baby monitors :-)

rajesh, i guess the difference lay in our expectations. i was expecting a no-frills investigative thriller and so the family portions and romance seemed to slow down the movie. but understand your pov about it being a complete family movie too!

prakash, he'll be back as soon as he has something worthwhile to write about :-)
and i'm a firm believer in the fact that time we have expands to accomodate what we have to do. oh... and sacrificing some sleep helps too :-)

 
At 11:10 PM, Anonymous Ruchi said...

Abt the movie :
Traces of "Detective" by Arthur Hailey ??

 
At 12:11 AM, Blogger Narayanan Venkitu said...

How old is this movie? Is it out in the stores Yet. I'd like to watch it. I am a big fan of Mamootty.!

And thanks for your review.

 
At 1:01 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

ruchi, haven't read that one. story similar to the book?

narayanan, thanx for visiting. i think the movie was released more than a yr ago. but atleast here in US, it just came out on video tape. but if u don't understand malayalam, u have been warned :) movie has lots of characters and is difficult to follow since there r no subtitles.

 
At 3:01 AM, Anonymous Ruchi said...

Well, @ least the bit abt a serial killer on death row finally confessing to all his murders except one , and thus throwing the responsibility of a fresh investigation on the authorities.

The main plot-theme ( I am talking abt the book here )is okay , but it is replete with perverts and depravity ..... leaves a v bad taste in the mouth ... definitely not one an Arthur Hailey novel I liked.

 
At 5:37 PM, Blogger skanda said...

I have not seen any of the CBI trilogy..it sounds exciting from ur reviews...as any of this movies beind dubed in tamil?...

 
At 6:22 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

ruchi, yeah, does sound like the story might be from 'detective'. and though i wouldn't go so far as to call it depraved or perverted, the CBI movies arent really 'clean' either. they're all filled with affairs and illicit relationships.

skanda, no i dont think they've been dubbed. the 1st one was so popular in madras that i think no one thot of dubbing it. if u get a dvd with subtitles(the 2nd one, jagratha, is out on dvd) do check it out.

 
At 10:05 PM, Blogger Aatma said...

Looks like I need to go to the stores and get the movie, didn't the movie release just recently, is it out on DVD so soon ?

 
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