Santhosh Vishwanath’s ‘One’, with Mammootty, is a middling fantasy about a purer-than-white politician

Posted on April 28, 2021


Spoilers ahead…


In Shankar’s Mudhalvan, an ordinary man, Pugazhenthi, becomes the chief minister for one day. He does miraculous things that corrupt politicians in power wouldn’t do. One takes it to a whole new level by asking: what if the actual chief minister, Kadakkal Chandran played by Mammootty, was like Pugazhenthi? Till he makes an appearance at the half hour mark, we think he might be a fearful person. We are made to feel this fear through the eyes of a young boy who has posted something derogatory about him on Facebook. He’s an ordinary guy with a father who works in food delivery. What if he antagonizes a very powerful chief minister of the state?

But we are never really in suspense because the chief minister is played by a charismatic Mammootty. You wouldn’t cast him as the bad guy. The film’s problem is in this utter predictability. The chief minister is so good, so pure and selfless that he becomes a big bore. It’s easier to portray Ravana on screen than Rama. One tries to do a Rama on us for two and a half hours. 

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