Cinematographer Shamdat Sainudeen’s directorial debut Street Lights has Mammootty playing a police officer named James, who is on an undercover mission. His aunt’s Rs 5-crore worth diamond necklace is stolen, and the search for the thieves escalates into a bigger hunt for a notorious criminal he had been trying to nab for many years. The thieves – two goofy Malayali men and a ruthless gangster from a Tamil village – lose the necklace while trying to escape the cops. Meanwhile, a boy who lives in an impoverished residential colony in the city, accidentally becomes part of the scheme of things.
Shamdat experiments with the narrative, stitching together multiple tracks using the necklace. But there is a lack of intrigue in the film; there is nothing that makes you hold your breath. The film, albeit revolving around many incidents of crime, isn’t edgy. There are a horde of characters in the film, but none of them are memorably impressive. The flashback portion that details the rivalry of the gangster and the police officer, lacks a punch.
Street Lights is no Kasaba or Masterpiece. It doesn’t use Mammootty as a machismo showpiece. His character, James, functions in plain situations of routine life. There is an instance where one of his subordinates suffers an injury during a police operation. In the next scene, you see James tending to his wounds, while recounting an incident from many years ago. Shamdat successfully gives James a human touch.
The megastar looks suave and at ease in the film, but Street Lights, ultimately, belongs to two lowly thieves, played by Hareesh Perumanna and Dharmajan Bolgatty, who find themselves trapped in a conundrum after they team up with a gangster in a burglary. They are genuinely funny, and they turn out to be the only factor that brings the audience close to the film.
Shamdat opens his film to a quote from Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights – “Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.” But his film fails to match up to the layered subtext of the quote. In long-shot, Street Lights is somewhere between a plain drama that can lull you to sleep, and an ambitious experiment that shouldn’t be ignored.
The Street Lights 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.