Race to the throne

Will Prithviraj’s latest release Simhasanam catapult him back into the big league, asks Deepa Gauri

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Published: Sat 18 Aug 2012, 11:03 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 9:59 PM

Young actor Prithviraj, loved and hated in equal measure in his primary film turf of Malayalam cinema, has returned to the silver screen with Simhasanam, a racy action thriller by director Shaji Kailas.

After the not-so-impressive show of Hero and Masters, Prithviraj could do with a fantastic box office hit, especially with Malayalam cinema now going through what people call a ‘phase of revival.’

This year has been exceptionally kind for the industry with several ‘small’ films scoring big at the turnstiles, while the biggies with superstars Mammootty and Mohanlal (with the exception of Spirit – which is more of a Renjith-Lal combo than a typical Lal movie) not actually making waves.

Unlike his peers, Prithviraj is arguably the only actor in his generation who can do effortless action thrillers, and also command the sort of initials that is reserved for typical action potboilers featuring the ‘super, mega stars.’

Coming from Shaji Kailas, Simhasanam has no air of pretention. Right from its posters to the trailers, the film promises another of those action flicks laden with political commentary and the good boy wronged by bad cop routine.

As is customary in all Shaji films, there is Sai Kumar, whose character bears an uncanny resemblance to a politician; and Siddique, who spots that typical no-nonsense police officer menace.

There are also two new heroines – both not expected to be of great value addition to the movie, other than to gyrate to songs which are needed to market the film on television and YouTube.

For Prithviraj, the success of Simhasanam would mean making another attempt to gain the throne of stardom that came his way with Puthiya Mugham.

His bankability is now being challenged and it doesn’t help much that Shaji Kailas, who has scripted the movie, is regarded by some as ‘old generation’ sticking to the formula fare of revenge and often going over the board with headache-inducing editing and camera tricks.

The success of Simhasanam will also mean that Malayalam cinema need not be stuck with the so-called new generation hype and that much like Bollywood there is room for every genre of cinema – from arty to trendy to crass commercials.

So will the film work? It has hardly any competition before Mammottty’s Thaapana and Dileep’s Mr Marumakan hits the theatres, but then has to face an unlikely contender – in the form of a movie from the one and only Santosh Pandit, who makes a mockery of filmmaking and yet manages to rake in millions.

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