*this post has a strong mallu flavor with no intended malice*
The movie begins with ‘Ethanesan nayar'(Mohanlal) a peace loving kathakali artist who often goes away on dance performances with his troupe. The truth is that under his pot belly is a strongly guarded secret, he is part of a secret agency that was established by the great king ‘Swathi thirunal‘ in the 1800’s. Their mission should they choose to accept it is to protect the sanctity of the temples of Kerala.
His girlfriend Srivalli Kutti(Meera Jasmine) is a ayurvedic doctor who always treats patients like her own kin. One day when they are having a party at home (not to forget a Arabic/Bhangra mix song sequence to please the viewers in gelf) Ethanesan gets a call to rescue a female agent Akhilandeswari Kutti(Trisha Krishnan) who has been kidnapped by a ruthless gang. For old times sake (we again cut to another song sequence where we show training and one side love from the female agent) Ethanesan accepts the mission and sets out with his team to find her.
Here we introduce his teammates Paramasivan Chettiyar(Suresh Gopi) a frnd who has been with him on previous missions, Radhakrishnan Nambiar(Vineeth) and Seethamahalaxmi(Yana Gupta, well we want some non-mallu glamour as well). They locate Akhilandeswari in an unused ‘nendrapayam’ (large Kerala banana) chips factory that resembles the RedFort on 26th January! As cool as ever Ethanesan dodges bullets, bombs punches a few goons, floats in the air(at this point of time there are cheers and whistles in the lower stalls, u know the Rs.10 guys) and reaches the agent. He frees her and the team escapes in a tractor. They are now followed by a faster tractor that runs a V8 engine n so we have a tractor chase sequence in a paddy field at night. In the midst of this wannabe action sequence the female agent pops out due to a detonated bug that was implanted in her head in the villain’s lair.
We’ve had enough of non-stop action so we now have a sad song as Ethanesan cries for his one time apprentice who is now dead in his arms. We constantly switch the camera back and forth as Ethanesan recalls the times with her, as he does the customary closing of eyelids. And with the cinematic license I have, we allowed Ethanesan to light her pyre as he was her friend and well wisher at the agency. Here we end the song with Ethanesan in a dhoti and bare-chested by the riverside with the ashes of Akhilandeshwari in his hands and revenge in his eyes.
Chalo now let’s cut back to the agency where the chief Kesavan Namboodiri (Mamootty) is all mad about the wasted mission where the team recovered nothing and also lost the agent. We try to show negative shades for Mr. Namboodiri here and that adds spice to the plot. Ethanesan receives an empty envelope from Akhilandeswari with an encoded invisible message. Ethanesan finds out that our villain Murugappaswamy (Prakash Raj) is after something called ‘Appukuttans hand’. What and why are what make up the crux of the movie and even a novice director like me won’t tell u more.
To avenge the death of Akhilandeshwari, Ethanesan sets out with his team on a self initiated mission to find Muruguppaswamy and the secret of ‘Appukuttans hand’. They plot to kidnap Muruguppaswamy at the Guruvayoor festival and chalk out an exhaustive plan. Here we show Ethanesan scaling the walls of the temple and mingling with the crowd in the guise of a temple ‘namboodiri’. Now Muruguppaswamy performs a kathakali dance every year before the procession. Ethanesan’s team use hi-tech gadgetry and using Paramasivan’s make-up skills Ethanesan dons the kathakali of Muruguppaswamy. What follows next is slick camerawork and song in the praise of the lord. Muruguppaswamy is lured by the seductive Seethamahalaxmi and this is when the switch is made. An explosion takes place in the temple as our team whisks the villain away.
Now Ethanesan tries his best to interrogate Muruguppaswamy and extract details of ‘Appukuttans hand’ but our bad guy only swears to inflict pain on Ethanesan. As Muruguppaswamy is being escorted to the agency headquarters by Ethanesan’s team, the convoy is ambushed and the baddie escapes. Prakash Raj and Mohan Lal exchange glances as the camera swerves back and forth between their eyes, not to forget the techno type background score that’s constantly blaring. This is where we have the intermission…..
Now for the remaining audience who dared to step back into the hall we continue from where we left of. Akhilandeswari’s message speaks of a traitor in the agency and warns Ethanesan to be prepared. In the meanwhile Ethanesan’s saucy girlfriend is kidnapped from the ayurvedic centre and Muruguppaswamy demands ‘Appukuttan’s hand’ as ransom. Ethanesan has 48 hours to get ‘Appukuttans hand’ and save his lady. Back in the office Kesavan Namboodiri is furious for an unauthorized mission and takes Ethanesan in, on the grounds of conspiring with Muruguppaswamy. This is where we try to show the negative shades of the chief and make the plot even more intriguing. Ethanesan’s immediate superior Unnikrishnan (Naseer) gives him the impression that his haunch about Kesavan is true and the chief and our villain are brothers in crime. He also tells Ethanesan that ‘Appukuttan’s hand’ is in Sikkim. Ethanesan makes a breathtaking escape from the agency full of the best keralites. Well this is when our Rs.10 guys jump with joy as the hero escapes from such a heavily guarded agency, the guys in the upper stalls are shocked but then they realize that it’s a mallu movie and such things are expected.
Focus now shifts to Gangtok, Sikkim as the team plans a way to get into the building that houses the piece of shit everybody in this movie is after. In what proves to be the best stunt of the movie, Ethanesan tucks up his pot belly and performs a pendulum type stunt as he jumps on to another building without any padding or safety. The guys in the lower stalls are tearing the seats in joy as their idol defies physics, but the balcony audiences slowly begin to realize that this isn’t any slick agent flick but a knee-level dhoti type masala show. Still they manage to suppress their anger as every soul in the hall awaits the breath-taking stunts within the building when Ethanesan is going to steal ‘Appukuttan’s hand’. This is the moment of truth, this is the moment 1000’s of fans have been waiting for, this is the scene people have paid for, and this is it!
This is where we hit them hard, a super twist! We don’t show them what they want to see. We pull our hero in and out of the building even before you could say ‘Bhagawane!’ Ha Ha how does that feel suckers? I know I’m too good. Let’s finish the movie for the people who are still sitting in the hall cajoling their girlfriends. So now Ethanesan has ‘Appukuttans hand’ and is speeding towards the villains lair where Srivalli is held hostage. Ethanesan finds himself near an abandoned garage when a car pulls over, the driver asks him to take a drug and sit in the backseat. As expected Ethanesan drinks the drug, goes drowsy, passes out and wakes up all tied up with Muruguppaswamy in front of him. Srivalli is also tied and gagged as Muruguppaswamy keeps asking for ‘Appukuttans hand’, even though Ethanesan handed over the shit he stole. What follows now is a series of arguments as Muruguppaswamy puts a gun to Srivalli’s forehead. In a fit of rage he pulls the trigger and bang! Here I bring in shrieks, Ethanesan yell that is slowed down to give that booming ultra slow effect. Time for a sad song as scenes cut across Ethanesan’s head, we make it a sad duet with Yesudas and Chitra while we Ethanesan recollects the fun times with his bride to be.
After the teary eyed song it’s time for a final twist, as Ethanesan is staring at his dead wife in comes his superior and pulls over the mask which reveals that the dead lady is actually Muruguppaswamy’s P.A and not Srivalli. Unnikrishnan now breaks the ice by narrating how he and Muruguppaswamy compromised to benefit each other. Muruguppaswamy’s mafia connections and Unnikrishnan’s access to top secret info made their alliance fruitful for both. Akhilandeswari came to know of this and therefore they conspired to kill her. Ethanesan was setup for the whole movie as he and only he could retrieve ‘Appukuttans hand’. Now that the whole plot has been revealed we allow our hero to break the ropes and beat the hell out of Unnikrishnan, he then tries to find his beloved Srivalli.
Since it’s a so-called action flick we show Srivalli tied up and surrounded by a few goons as our hero needs a last chance to flex those muscles. After beating up the baddies as he begins to untie his girlfriend’s ropes, his head begins to swerve with shooting pain. Enter out fat villain and he punches a hapless Ethanesan who can only shriek for the pain in his head. Turns out that Muruguppaswamy planted a similar bug in Akhilandeswari’s head as well and that explains her death. So we let our villain throw our hero on tables, though glass panes etc. Finally when he is about to really kill Srivalli, our hero gathers all his energy and has just enough to pounce on the villain, grab his pistol and sink it into his heart!
Ok we almost forgot bout the splitting headache, so Ethanesan asks Srivalli to put power chords on either side of his head and hit the switch thereby short circuiting the bug! There is mild response from the Rs.10 guys as even they begin to find it absurd. So Srivalli does as told and viola! Ethanesan conks out! Yes sir, you have to believe your eyes! A bruised and battered Unnikrishnan hobbles towards ‘Appukuttans hand’ as Srivalli shoots him between the eyes. She then places Ethanesan’s head on her lap and wails in disbelief, well almost the same feeling in the hall only that the reason is slightly different. She curses the gods for taking Ethanesan away and challenges their authority.
In what turns out to be a digital masterpiece, Srivalli breaks into the last song of the movie as she questions the goddess for taking away Ethanesan’s life. We shift the camera from Srivalli to a temple atop a hill and back. Then as we focus on the temple we keep tilting the camera back and forth to give a dizzy effect. Then there are strong winds followed by thunder and lighting. To sum it all up the bells in the temple go crazy and there is that full devotional fervor that is coming from Srivalli’s prayers. As the song reaches its end and the playback singer hits the high notes the tremors in the temple increase, so do the bells, the wind is unstoppable, lighting is striking like crazy and the goddess is now beginning to feel Srivalli’s anger. In a guest appearance Ramyakrishnan as the goddess with bloodshot eyes does a brief ‘tandav’ and then falls on the floor unable to bear the tremors and the power of Srivalli’s love.
From the ‘trishul’ comes a Jyothi(flame) that travels all the way to Ethanesan’s heart and breathes life into him. Ethanesan coughs and wakes up to find himself in Srivalli’s arms. Her love for him conquered death everything else had to bow before the power of her love. A jolt of lighting strikes the garage as the goddess (Ramyakrishna looking gorgeous in a saree) appears and blesses them.
Enough of family stuff so I let the lead pair break into one sultrier beach song, with 100 babes in scanty clothes and bare-chested hairy men. This is supposed to be an item song and will try to hold the remaining audience in their seats for a little longer. To heat things up we end the song with the pair making love and hope to invite some whistles from the crowd.
For a happy ending we show Kesavan Namboodiri apologizing to Ethanesan for suspecting his integrity and offering him a higher position which Ethanesan declines. Kesavan adds that if Ethanesan stays back he’ll tell him the secret of ‘Appukuttans hand’. Ethanesan laughs away as he carries his bride across the hallway and we close the curtains. Aspirin, pain balm, and hankies are available at the exit.
Some hunk from Hollywood some Cruise guy has bought the rights to make it in English, I wish him luck but then a mallu movie is always a mallu movie, can’t work the same magic elsewhere.