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When script trumps superstars: How Malayalam cinema has changed in the last decade

MollywoodAt the start of the millennium, Malayalam cinema had reached the nadir of mediocrity, with directors and filmmakers pandering to the superstar cult. Omkar PoojariIn a career spanning over four decades and 400 films, Mammootty – one half of the big two Ms of Mollywood – has donned the khaki on the silver screen several times. But his latest cop avatar as Si Mani in Khalid Rahman's Unda sprung more than a few surprises. With a slight paunch and gentle mannerisms, Si Mani – fondly called Mani Sir by his colleagues – is anything but the flamboyant macho cop that we see so often in Malayalam movies. Tasked with leading a bunch of rookie Kerala policemen from Kerala on election duty in the Naxal hotbed of Bastar, Si Mani is a man full of insecurities and vulnerabilities. When the naxalites open fire unexpectedly at their camp, in the middle of the night, Si Mani doesn't take charge.

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