With Superstar Mohanlal, Fahd Fazil, Asif Ali and a host of young artists at his disposal, debutante director Salam Bapu's 'Red wine' was expected to hatch up a surprise. But with a very predictable story, average dialogues and execution, 'Red Wine' just manages to end up another regular film that tries for something different in presentations.
The movie is set in a pattern which moves back and forth across time. From the very first shot we are introduced to Fahad's A C Anoop, the local secretary of the communist part of Ambalavayal in Wayanad, who occasionally comes up as an actor for a local drama troupe headed by Unni(Priyanandhanan). An engineering graduate, he is quite adamant on his stands for values and social commitments, and spearheads the movements against land mafia and encroachment issues. And naturally he is quite popular even with the opposition leaders, local people and adivaasis.
But one that very day, we find him dead in a hotel room at Calicut where he was taking rest after the drama.
Mohanlal as Ratheesh Vasudevan, another upright officer, makes an uneventful entry and finds ways to crack the crime and to locate the murderer using his intuitions and traditional but brainy methods.
Asif Ali comes up as Ramesh, the third big name in the plot, working for an automobile company to support his doting wife Deepthy(Mia) who has eloped with him from an affluent family.
The highlight of the movie is the narratives that are quite non linear, build with bits and parts from different lives. As the ACP is quietly cracking the case, we are left open to various events in the lives of Anoop, his love with Jasmine (Maria John), and his initiatives to line up the oppressed for more privileges. But at no point the character of Anoop appear lethal enough to get eliminated.
The movie is sprinkled with lot of cultural tastes of the gone generations of Calicut like 'Communist party, 'Basheer' to P M Taj' and 'Kakkothikavile Appoppanthadikal' which also give a sudden attachment to the theme on hand. Wonderful performances from Asif Ali and Fahad are also the highlights of the movie which has Mohanlal doing a restrained cake walk through his role of an investigator, who hit a sudden realization of emotions with the men whom he is after. But sadly, nothing much is offered for the legend here. T G Ravi, Saiju Kurup, Mia and newcomer Maria john gives some inspired performances.
But the scripts by Maman K Rajan doesn't have the meat to qualify as an emotional thriller. Expecting to create one in the styles of Padmarajan and MT of early eighties, the characters except that of Asif Ali demands much more clarity and finesse in writing. More over the lines that they lip synk needed to be more powerful than what we have now. The loss of any sort of suspense and twists, together with its predictable nature harms its narratives very much. Adding to that is the traditional shot making by Manoj Pillai and an over the top BG Scores by Biji pal which all affects the effectiveness of the aspiring thriller. The pace of the movie is also pretty slow and it appears stretched even in its 140 minutes length. Any how, Salam Bapu needs to fine tune his directorial skills before attempting another film. Directorial flourishes are surely visible, but he may need more time to emerge as a filmmaker of real punch.
'Red Wine' is but a clean bit of film which can definitely be prescribed for families. An one time watch for others though its is quite predictable to the core.