Boss (Mammootty) has an asinine laugh. It’s there when he casually swats a man charging forward to beat him, or when he breaks into a punchline inspired from a masala Tamil or Malayalam film. His gait, clothes, facial expressions and even his stillness convey an energy that’s formidable to watch. Right from his intro scene, Boss makes it clear that he means business. And those around him are merely fanboys who are as much in awe of him as the audience.
A money lender, he also loans huge sums to film producers but is ruthless about getting it back. His introduction scene has him casually sauntering in and wrecking a film set when the producer fails to pay up. It’s a character built like a quintessential Rajinikanth hero—the irreverence, drama, comedy, punchlines and even the fights. And Mammootty brings a particular energy and charm to Boss, adding little quirks (the character’s penchant to recite popular movie punchlines for instance) to an already larger-than-life character. So, when the 68-year-old actor who is often mocked for being stiff in action scenes swings his legs at a 90 degree angle at a villain, we buy it, because of the energy on his face. But remove Boss from Shylock, and you get a dull, formulaic revenge action thriller.
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Director Ajay Vasudev begins from where he stopped with his earlier two vapid films (both headlined by Mammootty): Rajadhi Raja and Masterpiece. The template remains the same, except here the leading man at least brings relief, with his one-man show. Otherwise Vasudev’s films are typical massy potboilers, centred around an unbeatable hero, a...