Rating: 1-1/2 stars

Director P. Vasu muffs up yet another chance to stage a comeback in his home production "Malabar Police". What could have turned out to be a taut crime procedural suffers from some unimaginative screenplay and direction by Vasu. The end product is a melange of leftovers from his earlier works like "Walter Vetrivel" and "Chinna thambi" garnished with bits from the recent malayalam blockbuster "Unmai".

Abbas and Mumtaz witness the murder of a high profile Kerala politician in a secluded temple that perhaps exists just to host the marriages of eloping couples like them! They flee Palghat from the assasin Anandraj after conveniently dropping the "thali" at the temple as a clue to the hapless police. They eventually get separated in Madras. Satyaraj plays the Keralite police officer with a tamil lineage dispatched to Madras to find the couple and solve the case. Koundamani is the constable assistant assigned to him to solve the case. Kushboo plays Satyaraj's mandatory screen wife and is a test bed for the director to indulge in his favorite "ladies sentiment". After several incredible coincidences Satyaraj manages to nab Anandraj but he soon realizes that Anandraj is only the tip of the iceberg. He unmasks the real brain behind the assasination, in a grand public commission hearing aided almost single-handedly by the diligent diary writing habits of the culprits!

Does this conjure up visions of "Oru CBI diary kurippu" or "Unmai"?Alas, these visions are but a mirage and the proceedings are quite soporific. Satyaraj and Kushboo in Malabar PoliceInstead of sticking with the whodunit part of the story Vasu needlessly tries to marry a love story and some outdated ladies sentiment into it. If Mr. Average film goer were incharge of the investigation, the real culprit could have been nabbed about halfway into the movie! Satyaraj relies more on the coincidences fashioned by the director than his investigative skills to solve the case. Of course the proverbial diary entries and the ticket stubs oblige him a lot! Satyaraj alternates between loud proselytizing of the police cause and flexing his muscles with the baddies. His malayalam accent is quite good though not anywhere near the class of "Palaghat Madhavan". Kushboo ambles through a thankless role designed to bring out the cleenex from the women folk. Koundamani provides raucous fun as the constable always taking a dig at Satyaraj's tamil diction. I wouldn't mind watching this performance again, although in a "comedy kathambam" format! Abbas and Mumtaz help fill up valuable screen time with innocuous duets. Mumtaz handles the additional responsibility of minimizing the costume designer's remuneration, with ease! The supporting cast including Vijaykumar, Sivakumar, Jaiganesh, Anand and Indu have nothing much to do. S.A. Rajkumar's music is a non-starter. There is nothing much to rave about Ashok kumar's photography as well. The movie opens solemnly stating that its a dedication to the Kargil martyrs. This certainly leads me to believe those who feel that our army jawans are getting a raw deal!

forgottenbest

Original Photograph (Malabar Police): Thanks to Cinema Express, Kumudam
Photograph scanned & reworked by: Krishna