Director Sugeeth belongs to a category of filmmakers who believe that the only aim of cinema is to keep the audience – who would have otherwise spent their time sleeping or staring at the wall – engaged for two-and-a-half hours. That way, his debut directorial, Ordinary, had stayed loyal to its title. It was plain and old-school, and used every known cliché in Indian cinema to narrate the story. Shikkari Shambu, Sugeeth’s fifth film, is not any different in style or quality. Worse, most of the plot points are uncannily similar.
Starring Kunchakko Boban, Vishnu Unnikrishnan and Hareesh Kanaran in the lead roles, the film is a comedy-drama set in a forest hamlet where a man-eating tiger is on the prowl. The panchayat is looking for a skilled hunter to end the tiger menace, and what they get are three thieves in the guise of famed hunters. One of them, Achu (Vishnu Unnikrishnan), falls in love with the daughter of a panchayat member, and taking a leaf out of Malayalam cinema’s stalker’s guide, he starts following her wherever she goes. In a particularly creepy moment, he takes a bite of a sweetmeat in front of her, and throwing a flirtatious glance at her, comments, “Delicious! I love it.” The girl, nevertheless, reciprocates his feelings after a couple of scenes. His friend, Peeli (Kunchakko Boban), is smitten by a girl, Anita (Shivada). She is beautiful, and we know she is bold because she works at a local butcher’s shop, makes and sells country arrack, and carries a dagger all the time. One day, she confronts the three con men for they duped her mother of some money. She pulls out the dagger, and demands that they pay the money back. Peeli, who is head over heels in love with her, tackles her, throws away the dagger, ridicules her, and makes her feel powerless before handing over the money. The filmmaker has a rather creepy, yet not completely unusual, way of portraying romance.
The third thief, played Hareesh Kanaran, has the sole job of cracking comic one-liners and accompanying the other two men in their various exploits. However, he turns out to be the best element of Shikkari Shambu. Hareesh is effortlessly funny. Kunchakko Boban, who is usually a neat performer, is forced to play a traditional hero with exaggerated machismo; clearly not the actor’s forte.
The visuals might remind one of vernacular comic books, unreasonably colourful and bright, tailor-made for primary school children. But there is no reason to believe that the comic influence in the title as well as the camerawork are well thought-out decisions because the film uses double innuendos aplenty. For a comedy entertainer, Shikkari Shambu isn’t impressively funny either. The film limits humour to funny one-liners; situations and story points are bland and dry.
Sugeeth’s film plays to the gallery, careful enough to not think out of the box. It is purely market-driven, vehemently follows the rules of an old, regressive text book, and desperately tries not to be a part of the revolution. Shikkari Shambu is a forgettable film that doesn’t work even as a weekend pastime.
The Shikkari Shambu review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.