Swamy has ripped off Major Ravi’s Keerthichakra (which is still running in theatres!) and Mohanlal character is nothing but Major Mahadevan turned into Baba Kalyani! Instead of Kashmir milieu we have Kochi as backdrop. The climaxes in both the films are similar and Swamy has added dashes of Oru CBI Dairy Kurippu series!
However what saves the film from being a total disaster is Mohanlal. The actor steers this uneven film somehow to the winning post. He is cool as he effortlessly changes from casual to seriousness and does his role with consummate ease. Watch him snort as part of his character’s mannerism.
Baba Kalyani (Mohanlal) is an intelligent, hard-working cop who heads the Kerala Police Anti-terrorist wing. One day he stumbles on terrorist group who plan to bomb Kochi city and create communal tension in the state. Kalyani with the backing of DGP (Venu Nagavally) gets himself transferred to Kochi as the new commissioner along with his team- Thomas Chandy (Biju Menon), Aniyan (Freddy) and Faizal (Ajay Jose.
The needle of suspicion points to Isa Mohammed Haji (Sai Kumar) a social worker of repute with political connections. His son Zaheer Ahmed alais Babu (Indrajeet) a college professor is the kingpin and is behind counterfeit notes pumped into Kochi and also provides ISI trained Pakistani terrorist hideaways. Meanwhile, Kalyani’s love track with Asokan (Murali) his old foes daughter Madhumita (Mamta Mohandas) a lawyer moves as a parallel track.
Finally the story veers to the climax as Kalyani has to save the temple town of Palani in Tamilnadu from being blown up as Babu and his Jihadi friends have planted RDX in Maruti cars waiting to explode! The narrative is not clear and the 2 hour 30 film drags post interval as a lot of unwanted scenes and a song is introduced.
To show mother sentiments, Kaviyoor Ponnamma (Mohanlal’s favourite screen mother), a Guruvayoor temple devotee and Baba Kalyani’s house owner bursts into a devotional Kai Niraye Venna Tharam…. along with Mohanlal the ‘so called’ soft-spoken, intelligent investigating officer, things definitely go overboard! And to add boredom, this song is picturised like, Mugile..Mugile… of Keerthichakra!
The romance between Kalyani and Madhumita has been created by scriptwriter to enhance Mohanlal’s screen image as it has nothing to do with the story. The major flaw of the film is the antagonist played by Indrajeet is a wrong choice as he could not stand up to Mohanlal. A stronger, more convincing villain would have made the proceedings interesting.
On the plus side, Baba Kalyani is technically slick with fast cuts, in-your-face (some people find this irritating) Don Max’s editing. And Shaji’s racy camerawork, Rajamani’s background score and Shaji Kailas’ shot compositions (reminds you of Men in Black and Kaakha Kaakha).
On the whole, Baba Kalyani is worth a look only for Mohanlal.