Michael: A Stylish Action Drama That Is Bogged Down By Déjà Vu

Ranjit Jeyakodi michael

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Michael (Telugu)

  • Cast: Sundeep Kishan, Divyansha Kaushik, Gautam Vasudev Menon, Varun Sandesh, Vijay Sethupati, and Varalaxmi Sarathkumar
  • Writer-director: Ranjit Jeyakodi
  • Producers: Bharath Chowdary and Pushkar Ram Mohan Rao
  • Music: Sam CS
  • Runtime: 2 hours 3 minutes

Gangster films are one of the most clichéd genres in the history of Cinema, across all languages. It has been attempted in different forms, starting from the classic Godfather series directed by Francis Ford Coppola. There is hardly anything new left to explore.

However, a well-made gangster film is always exciting to watch, provided the director can bring a different dimension within the familiar territory.

Ranjit Jeyakodi’s Michael is well-mounted with a lot of technical finesse. But all that sheen is not enough to cover a weak storyline. At more than one place it looks like he wanted to make another KGF.

sundeep vijay michael
Sundeep Kishan and Vijay Sethupathi on the sets of ‘Michael’. (sundeepkishan/Twitter)

Michael is set in Mumbai in the 90s. Sundeep Kishan plays an orphan (titular role) who grows up in Mumbai.

Gurunath (Gautham Vasudev Menon) is a leading gangster in Mumbai and Michael saves Gurunath from his enemies, not once but twice. Gurunath treats Michael as his son, much to the disdain of his real son Amarnath (Varun Sandesh).

Michael quickly climbs up the ladder and soon becomes a vital cog in the circle of Gurunath. Gurunath even hands over the business of a bar to him. This bar is frequently visited by some of the worst gangs in Mumbai.

Things take a turn when Michael is assigned a huge responsibility. Gurunath gives him the task of finding out the last living member of his rival gang who wants him dead.

Michael heads to Delhi and his path crosses with that of Theera (Divyansha Kaushik). He gets close to her with a particular purpose and ends up falling in love with her, despite Theera’s repeated warnings.

However, Amarnath, who is meanwhile burning with jealousy, has his plans. The rest of the story looks at multiple things.

Is Michael successful in his mission? But more importantly what is the true motive of Michael in saving Gurunath?

The performances

Sundeep Kishan is someone who is known for a particular image. But, with Michael, the actor is successful in showing a different side of himself.

As Michael, he doesn’t speak a lot but is super effective in conveying the character’s mystery and menace through his body language.

Gautham Vasudev Menon makes for a classy antagonist. There is a certain swagger that the filmmaker-actor brings to the table.

Anasuya Bhardwaj’s role is an extension of what she did in Pushpa. But still, she is effective in conveying the anguish of a mother who has lost her son.

Vijay Sethupati and Varalaxmi Sarathkumar appear midway through the second half. They have extended cameos and the presence of these two momentarily lifts the second half.

michael poster
A poster of Sundeep Kishan’s Michael. (sundeepkishan/Twitter)

In spite of the familiar terrain, there is no denying that Michael starts well. The introduction of Sundeep Kishan and his makeover as an action hero is wonderful to watch.

Also, the interaction between Michael and Gurunath is peppered with some wonderful lines.

There are certain scenes where Gurunath reads lines books from such as “Macbeth” and “The Godfather”. This adds a certain layer to the role of Gurunath.

Even Varun Sandesh’s hammy portrayal of a jealous son keeps the audience invested.

The initial portions between Michael and Theera have a certain intrigue about them.

The romantic portions start on an unusual note and we are constantly guessing about the real motivations of Theera. But the film soon starts slipping and never really recovers.

After a point, Theera spends most of her time crying. But at no point does the audiences feel any emotional connection with her.

A major reason for that is weak writing. As a result, Theera ends up being just a prop in the larger scheme of things.

The technical crafts

The second half, in particular, tests the audience’s patience with endless action scenes.

The big reveal in the climax isn’t hard to guess as it is an amalgamation of Yash’s KGF films and Prabhas-starrer Munna.

There is also a long-drawn voiceover at the end which goes on and on.

The action scenes choreographed by Dinesh Kasi are definitely effective when viewed in isolation. But when viewed in the context of the film, they feel never-ending, particularly in the second half.

Technically, the film comes across as a polished product.

The cinematography by Kiran Koushik is excellent. Sam CS’s background score and music are also in perfect sync. They hugely contribute to elevating the scenes even though the script lets the film down.

The 90s of Mumbai have also been successfully recreated.

Verdict

This Michael has the required style and swagger but the missing element is substance!

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