Movie Review: Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea
In this series, we at Suggest Nest do a review each week of the latest movie/tv show/ music album/ book. We try to make the review as honest and raw as possible without giving away any suspense and also keeping it as brief as possible.
Type: History, Action, War
Release Year: 2021
Cast: Mohanlal, Pranav Mohanlal
Duration: 2 hours 55 mins
Where To Watch: Amazon Prime
Kunjali Marakkar, the first Indian naval chief, is tasked with getting the Portuguese forces out of the coast by the ruler of the land. After the forces docked at the coasts of Kerala disguised as traders with a hidden agenda of colonizing the state, their intervention in trade harmed the profits generated by the farmers and traders of the land. The movie explores themes like pain, revenge and tragedy.
The movie kicks off with a mellifluous yet slightly aching lullaby, setting the tone for what is to follow: tragedy, one after another. Young Kunjali’s almost perfect life takes a harsh left turn when a political rivalry snatches away everything he had. He decides to put the ungenerous pain that life bequeathed upon him into good use; helping those in dire need. When he is asked to protect his country from the wicked Portuguese forces, he is more than willing to come out of his shadowed heroic exemplar, and step in as a leader.
With the fear of their livelihoods being endangered, they plead to the Samoothiri (maharaja/ruler) to get the Portuguese out of their land. Kunjali, whom the public considers to be a mysterious saviour is summoned by the Samoothiri to help them fight against the brute Portuguese force, bestowing upon him the name “Kunjali Marakkar”(loosely translating into ‘captain of the naval defence’).
Assembling solid troops in addition to executing perhaps the most creative war techniques of that time, Kunjali Marakkar proves his mettle. Revenge, bitter backstabbing and ultimate pain drive the story.
The father-son duo, Mohanlal and Pranav Mohanlal both in the same movie with the same role (older and younger version) of Kunjali are quite wholesome. The casting includes a number of hotshot names from not just the Malayalam movie industry but also other Indian film industries and Mohanlal alone attracts a large audience for this movie. They have done a great job with graphics, the set (the palace is absolutely gorgeous) and the background music. Especially, the first sea battle scene, is so beautifully made, that it'll leave you with literal chills. As a tribute to India’s first Naval Commander, the movie does a fair job.
It does not deliver to the extent of the hype that it received. Despite a large number of talented actors, the excess of characters at times overwhelms you and feels slightly out of place. Also, it was quite unsettling to watch the Portuguese soldiers speaking in perfect English and not Portuguese. With a running time of almost three hours, the movie does not have enough to keep you engaged for this large chunk of time. Kunjali’s story has a lot of potential but unfortunately, the movie does not entirely carry that out.
Overall, it is a good movie, with sizable nuggets of action, dramatic visuals; and has done a satisfactory job at letting people know about an overlooked hero of our land. Is it worth all the hype? Probably not. But is it worth the watch? Yes.
By Anakha C Jayaraj (Suggest Nest)