March 31, 2017
Mammootty, Arya, Anikha, Sneha, Shaam, Miya George
What was Mammootty thinking when he signed up for this one? There are certain big screen projects in which a megastar can pull off strutting about to remind us of his hotness and coolth. A film purportedly on child rape is not that kind of project.
Yet, that is all Mammootty does in this weird directorial venture by Haneef Adeni. The Mollywood legend is not The Great Father’s only preening peacock, but he is the leader of the pride. Here, in short, is what happens in this film:
Mammukka caresses his beard.
Mammukka twirls his moustache.
Mammukka wears stylish clothes and poses for his daughter.
Mammukka wears stylish clothes and poses for the camera.
Mammukka gazes sexily at the camera.
Mammukka wears a leather jacket and gazes sexily at the camera.
Mammukka beats up people in slow motion.
Mammukka beats up people at normal speed.
Mammukka walks, in the presence of a loud background score dominated by pretentious English lyrics about his awesomeness.
There is more showing off where all that came from, in the form of imposing aerial shots, over-stylisation in every department and Peacock No. 2, a policeman played by Arya.
Here is what else happens in The Great Father:
Arya works out without a shirt.
Arya gazes sexily at the camera, his jaw angled just so.
Arya beats up people in slow motion.
Arya beats up people at normal speed.
Oh by the way, several children are brutally raped and murdered in this film, but of course they are secondary to the dudes in the lead.
Story? Sara David (Anikha) is a schoolkid who considers her father her superhero. Dad is the prominent builder David Nainan (Mammootty) who regales his daughter with tales of the many dragons he has slayed. Mum is Dr Michelle David (Sneha), who is inconsequential to this plot beyond the fact that she bore a child who is Mammootty’s character’s daughter. She is no different from that pretty female cop in fitted clothes who shows up to take instructions from and report to the good male cop played by Arya, ASP Andrews Eapen.
A serial child rapist is on the loose in Kerala. One day, when he wanders too close to home, David takes it upon himself to finish the fellow. His antagonist in this mission, oddly enough, is Andrews. Their conflict is one of the The Great Father’s many contrivances.
There is worse to come. The fulcrum of the plot is the rape of a child, but writer-director Adeni did not deem it fit to research paedophilia. The result is that sexual violence is used here as a prop on which Mammootty and Arya lean their male ruggedness.
It gets so bad that Andrews and his colleagues – all of them supposedly well-meaning police personnel – are shown repeatedly badgering a child to acknowledge that she was raped, as aggressively as they would extract a confession from a criminal. Repeat: these are NOT evil cops, and their behaviour is presented as normal.
If that is not offensive enough, we have a psychiatrist (played by Miya George) whose idea of counselling a child victim of rape is to virtually scold her and place the onus on her to bring back smiles on the faces of her parents who are traumatised by her trauma. You would think her own recovery should be the girl’s priority, but no ma’am, this doc believes otherwise.
Wait, there is even worse. The mystique surrounding the rapist reveals Adeni’s Christopher Nolan complex. The villain’s ominous signature tune might have added up to something in a sensible film, in a cipher like this one it merges with the surrounding nonsense.
(Spoiler alert, though I honestly don’t know why I am bothering) We realise while putting two and two together in the climax, that David has known the rapist-murderer’s identity for a while but did not report him to the police. This means he risked the life and safety of little girls across the state in the interests of his personal vendetta. And this is the man the film touts as a “great father”? Seriously? (Spoiler alert ends)
It would be a waste to spend time analysing this ludicrous film’s politics. If you thought Mammootty could not do worse than last year’s White, the star is out to prove you wrong. The Great Father is below the bottom of the barrel. What were you thinking, Mammukka?
Rating (out of five stars): 0 stars
CBFC Rating (India):
This review has also been published on Firstpost:
Poster courtesy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Father