After the massive success of Kayamkulam Kochunni, Nivin Pauly returns with Mikhael directed by Haneef Adeni. The film is a family-revenge drama with Nivin playing a doctor (John Michael) with many shades. He stands up for his family against dreaded gangsters after his younger sister inadvertently becomes the reason for the suicide of a gangster’s son. The film has biblical references and its tagline ‘guardian angel’ sums up Nivin’s character.
The film is a lively experience only when the brother-sister relationship plays out on screen. The young actress playing the sister charms us with her natural performance. Among the gangsters, Siddique is menacing with his screen presence, body language and proven skills as an actor. Unni Mukundan has done some great work on his appearance and physique to look the part of a mean gangster but ultimately he has to surrender to the burly hero (who in fact is no match to Unni Mukundan’s physique). JD Chakravarthy is a cool and efficient cop and gets good screen time, with a pretty nice score.
Manjima Mohan hardly gets a few scenes; she plays Nivin’s medical colleague at the hospital where he works. Nivin gets to show many shades: from being timid to his usual coy smiling self to action-heavy. The medical college flashback portions, where he is in an aggressive Arjun Reddy/Kali sort of mode (beating up his opponents, stylishly riding his bike and smoking a cigarette), will please his hardcore young fans. But there is nothing special from the star actor here.
Composer Gopi Sundar enlivens the proceedings, more so for the action scenes and other impact moments, with a wacky background score which will work well with the young crowd. There are no songs, as such, and no romance track either. Credit to director Haneef for eschewing these needless elements and just going with presenting the story in a non-linear fashion. True to his style, there are many high-speed shots (slow-motion) which make the film seem even slower and static than it already is. The English dialogues stick out sorely.
Ultimately, Mikhael could’ve worked as a film, with far shorter run time and a racier screenplay. The film becomes a huge drag towards the end (the track involving Jayaprakash and his son looked absolutely unnecessary) and struggles its way to the finish line. The final action showdown between Nivin and Unni atop a building was too filmy for Malayalam cinema’s generally subtle standards; such actions scenes have been done to death in numerous films already.
Mikhael is a disappointment, to put it in simple words!