What if Lucifer was God’s back-up plan to protect mankind? It is the central idea of Mohanlal’s new film Lucifer, which is directed by Prithviraj Sukumaran from a script by Murali Gopy.
An eccentric freelance journalist Govardhan (an incomplete character played by Indrajith Sukumaran) takes it upon himself to introduce five main characters that drive this story forward. All the names that Govardhan takes while reporting live on Facebook are connected to Kerala’s beloved political leader P. K. Ramdas (Sachin Khedekar). The state slips into political unrest after the sudden demise of Ramdas. And, Govardhan tells the viewers that Ramdas was no political saint and he too was involved in some shady dealings. It is after a good 30 minutes that we witness the most-awaited introduction of Mohanlal, who goes by the name Stephen Nedumpally. He has multiple names. And one of the names Govardhan gives him is Lucifer.
Lucifer takes time to come into its own before we actually get to see the entertaining parts. But, after the film finds its groove, it keeps churning out moment after moment to celebrate Mohanlal the star. Prithviraj may be a new kid on the block when it comes to directing a film. However, nobody can argue with his understanding of making a full-fledged commercial potboiler that is obsessed with hero-worshipping.
What sets Lucifer apart from the films that worship their heroes, is Prithviraj’s discernible efforts to make this film passable. There is an ample amount of slow-motion shots to play up Mohanlal’s never-dying charisma and magnetic screen presence. In fact, if editor Samjith Mohammed had cut all slow-motion shots of Mohanlal, Lucifer would have been 30 minutes shorter. And yet, the film’s celebration of its hero works as Prithviraj has done a solid job of infusing a lot of energy into every scene. Even the scenes that were destined to be dull in Murali Gopy’s drafts are elevated by Prithviraj’s pragmaticism in visualizing them. There is a fight scene in which Mohanlal destroys a gang of bad men as a Tamil song blares in the background. A Tamil police officer makes Thalaiva (Rajinikanth), Thalapathy (Vijay) and Thala (Ajith) reference in a scene which is coupled with Mohanlal demonstrating his impressive athleticism. And a Hindi ‘item’ number, just because the scene is set in Mumbai’s underbelly (even as it kind of violates Prithviraj’s promise of never allowing anything that disrespects women in his films).
We get more interesting scenes in the second half with the introduction of Ramdas’ son Jathin Ramdas (Tovino Thomas). His subsequent political debut is a scene to look out for.
Lucifer works only as a bunch of whistle-worthy scenes but in its entirety, it is a potboiler filled with cliches.