Directed by Amal Neerad, known for his extravagant slow motion shots and stylised violence, Bheeshma Parvam also takes generous inspiration from the Mahabharata.
Mammootty plays Michael (a direct nod to The Godfather), the youngest son of a powerful gangster family who is forced to renounce his love due to circumstances and take over the reins of the Anjooty clan
He becomes the patriarch of the large household though his older, resentful brother is still alive. “I will decide when I should die,” Michael says, channelising the Bheeshma of the epic.
What a joy it is to watch Mammootty in such brilliant form! Whether he’s making a ‘madiyan’ biriyani or slashing a goon, the actor is in complete control, and there’s not a single misstep.
What is Bheeshma’s predicament in the Mahabharata? He finds himself fighting on the side of the Kauravas though he knows that it is the Pandavas who have been wronged.
In a clever marriage of The Godfather and the epic, Amal Neerad, who co-wrote the film with Devadath Shaji, takes the same dilemma and fashions out of it a heady cocktail of revenge and redemption set in the (convincingly recreated) ‘80s.
There is a galaxy of characters in Bheeshma Parvam, but the strength of the writing ensures that the relationships between them are clearly established, and we also get a good sense of their personalities.
The major players get their own ‘mass’ introduction scenes, and how heartwarming it is to see the audience welcome not only Mammootty but also Soubin, Sreenath Bhasi and Shine Tom Chacko with cheers.
Shine’s Peter is the Kaurava prince Duryodhana who feels cheated of his inheritance and launches an insidious war against his own family.
Even without putting too much thought into comparisons and parallels with the epic or the Hollywood classic, Bheeshma Parvam still works.