Kannur Squad Review - Pretty engaging but this mix of realism & mass offers mixed results!
In Roby Varghese Raj’s Kannur Squad, Mammooty plays George, a sub inspector (or ASI?) who leads a team of policemen (3 to be precise). The pack is known as the ‘Kannur Squad’ and is famous for solving complicated cases. The movie opens with them, and they are already in action and are on a mission to nab a group. We don’t know the background details or who are these people that Mammooty and his men are after. This opening stretch serves two purposes. An introduction to these men and their abilities. It also gives as idea about the kind of dynamics that exists between these men. The core plot is however about how this team (Kannur Squad) is called upon to solve the murder of a big shot in Kerala.
The major USP of Kannur Squad is how the hero and his team travel over 3000 kms to catch the murderers. We have seen this in H. Vinoths’s Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru in Tamil which was packed as a racy film with a tinge of heroism and mass appeal. There was also Rajeev Ravi’s Kuttavum Shikshayum which was a similar police procedural but in which the focus wasn’t in creating an adrenaline rush. It was more about how this was just another day in the office for the policemen and the focus was more on the protagonist getting to finally balance his duty and also be true to his conscience. Roby Varghese Raj’s Kannur Squad tries to occupy the middle ground between these two films. It wants to be realistic and subtle most of the time, but it also wants to be massy at times aided by a score that gives the impression of a racy action film.
Kannur Squad is a pretty engaging film right through. The focus is always on the four leading men and the case/cases that they are involved in. We get brief scenes involving the families of the other 3 men but all we get to see of Mammooty is his job. We even get a glimpse of the family of his honest superior, a Tamilian named Manu Needhi Cholan, played by Kishore. (There is a big portrait of Periyar adorning the wall of his house and a small Buddha statue as well). But all we get to see of George is the policeman that he is. Perhaps that is what he is all the time.
There is an interesting conflict involving one of the members of the Kannur Squad who has taken a bribe and how this strains the relationship between these men. But I wished the dynamics was explored more. We get it that the focus is on how they overcome these internal conflicts and try to get the job done. But we needed more to get an emotional involvement with these characters. As said earlier, the film also tries to be a little massy at times. These scenes or action episodes are a mixed bag. They may give a temporary high, but they never really gel with the narrative style. The biggest issue however is that of the villains. They come across like caricatures. It would have mattered less in a no brainer mass film but here their characters significantly dilute the authenticity of the film.
Mammooty makes it look easy as he always does. He exudes a certain heroism even when he is being all realistic and subtle.
Kannur Squad occupies the middle ground between Kuttavum Shikshayum and Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru. The mass moments aren’t bad, but they don’t really gel with the narrative style and with villains who seem straight out of a template masala film, the overall effectiveness gets diluted. Kannur Squad is pretty engaging but could have been a lot more.