Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather has exerted perhaps the single biggest influence on gangster dramas. We have Indian adaptations of The Godfather — Sarkar, Nayakan and the recently released Fahadh Faasil-starrer Malik, to name a few. All such films follow the same basic template — an important event brings the entire family together, before we see the godfather in his sanctum sanctorum, meting out his own brand of justice to those who won’t get it from anywhere else.
Things are no different in Amal Neerad’s Bheeshmaparvam, as Mammootty’s character is introduced as a noble don who listens to the grievance of a mother whose son was murdered in the name of honour killing. Neerad’s first movie Big B was an adaptation of Hollywood movie Four Brothers; he followed it up with Anwar that was based on 2008 American movie Traitor. Iyobinte Pusthakam is loosely based on The Brothers Karamazov written by Russian literary giant Fyodor Dostoevysky, and Varathan is an adaptation of Straw Dogs. Amal sure knows his way around adaptations that he reinvents with his own signature style. His films have stylized cinematography, stunning frames and exhilarating background scores. Coming from Ram Gopal Varma School of filmmaking, he has proved he won’t change this aspect of his filmmaking and the influence is evident in Bheeshmaparvam also.
The film shows how many family members turn against Michael, starting a civil war. His nephews Peter (Shine Tom Chacko) and Paul (Farhaan Faasil), corrupt cop and brother-in-law Martin (Harish Uthaman) and brother Simon (Jinu Joseph) who is also a priest, join forces with cunning politician James (Dileesh Pothan) to end the reign of Michael. Another figure from Michael’s past, Rajan, plays a powerful villain.
View this post on Instagram
While Michael gets little support from within his family, Fathima (Nadia Moidu) and her sons Ajas (Soubin Shair) and Ami (Sreenath Bhasi) stand with him. As the war begins between both sides, people die and blood is shed. The climax is again reminiscent of The Godfather as Michael’s single swipe brings down his enemies, a lot like Michael Corleone’s masterstroke in the Hollywood classic.
Late actors Nedumudi Venu and KPAC Lalitha play the role of Rajan’s grandparents, who are thirsting for revenge and have shades of mythological characters Dhritarashtra and Gandhari from Mahabharatha.
View this post on Instagram
Despite borrowing broad strokes from The Godfather, Bheeshmaparvam makes for a refreshing watch, especially if you like Amal Neerad’s style of filmmaking. The storyline may be predictable but it keeps you engaged. Amal has also brought in many retro references in the movie like the Sony Walkman, Yamaha Rx100 bike, 13 AD band and more that offer a dose of nostalgia.
Mammootty has an imposing screen presence as Michael and exudes a quiet power. Soubin Shahir excels in the role of Ajaz , especially in emotional scenes. Shine Tom Chacko’s Peter is convincing as a cokehead and traitor. Sreenath Bhasi, Nadia Moidu, Dileesh Pothan, Lena and Abu Salim fit perfectly in their roles.
Sushin Shyam’s background score amplifies the action and the pulsating techno beats go well with mass scenes involving Mamootty’s character. Anend C Chandran’s cinematographery captures the historic spaces and godowns in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry with elegance. Vivek Harshan’s editing is also spot on.