Ten years ago Shaji Kailas was the most happening director in Malayalam movie industry. After a series of mega hits like 'Aram Thampuran', 'Narasimham' and 'Valiyettan', Shaji Kailas lost the company of his regular scriptwriters to eventually fade off from the scene. His attempt at associating with the younger bunch of writers never succeeded in making the right kind of impact either. With 'Simhasanam', he turns writer himself and has penned a script which, turns out to be a poorly prepared mix pooled from his yesteryear hits.
The story is still stuck in a 'la la land' and is thematically based on the rivalry between aristocracy and democracy. Shaji Kailas is still dreaming of a land ruled by a kind-hearted aristocrat, with loyal subjects who are willing to die for their ruler. However, Sai Kumar does pull off a terrific job playing 'Madhavan', the aristocrat of 'Chandragri' and father to 'Arjun' played by Prithviraj. The veteran actor, who gave new definition to villain roles in Malayalam films, does a remarkable transformation into the ageing but powerful and influential landlord, and the best father that a son can have.
However, Sai Kumar's enactment of 'Madhavan' in such a brilliant manner completely downs Prithviraj's shaky attempt at being the strong and humorous 'Arjun'. For one, the young actor does not posses the voice or tone to go for lengthy dialogues containing tough Malayalam usages. And the image that Prithviraj has built for himself through his previous movies completely bars him from being the 'Arjun' that was demanded as 'Madhavan's' son in the movie.
Vandana and Aiswarya Devan are the two heroines in the movie and they end up doing double damage to the already weak script. The only thing that 'Simhasanam' achievedwith the casting of two heroines opposite Prithviraj was reminding the viewer of Mohanlal's 'Aaram Thampuran'. Thilakan has been completely wasted as the Christian priest who appears once in a while to hail 'Arjun' as the savior of 'Chandragri'.
BijuPappan gets more screen time and presence than usual in 'Simhasanam', and to his credit, he has made use of it the best way he can. If he could maintain this growth, BijuPappan could very well be the next 'strong hand' consistently required by a superstar in the lead to add to the weight of his character in action-masala entertainers.
Siddique plays the main villain in the movie and his onscreen clash with Sai Kumar gives way for some of the few good scenes in 'Simhasanam'. But when Prithviraj takes over, it turns out to be a complete mismatch that was badly conceived by the director and poorlypicturised by cinematographer Saravanan. With the kind of shots and angles that have been used throughout the movie, it is quite clear what instructions the cinematographer got from the director before starting shooting for the movie - learn by-heart from all his previous action films.
Mafia Sashi needs to upgrade his action choreography to meet present day standards; the fight sequences where Prithviraj single handedly beats half a dozen men to the ground would have gathered applause ten years ago, but now, it only manages to make the audience yawn another time. BijiLal has given music to the movie, and it is clear from the songs and the background score that Shaji Kailas has given the same instructions to his music director as he did to his cameraman.
Just when Malayalam movie industry is at an all time high with a series of hits at the box office, the self-proclaimed superstar of Malayalam films finds himself at the lowest stage of his career with 'Simhasanam'. But the fault is not of the actor; rather it rests with the director of the movie. Shaji Kailas should have made at least an attempt at faking ideas from outside his own previous hits, all of which were scripted by others, to have them presented as his own, in a manner that is repulsive for an average film viewer who had been following Malayalam movies for the past ten years.
Simhasanam is a bad movie and is not worthy of being watched, even as a punishment.
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