CBI 5: The Brain starring Mammootty review: Sethurama Iyer does it again

Mammootty plays the lead in the movie, 'CBI 5: The Brain'

The audience cheering the name of the production banner on the screen is a rare spectacle. That is exactly what happened when 'Swargachithra Productions' appeared on screen at the release of the movie 'CBI5: The brain'. The same happened when the famed BGM sounded in the hall. The theatre response to the opening of the movie evoked a nostalgic fervour and testified to how deeply the iconic series has been entrenched in the hearts of the Malayali audience. 

Investigation stories are always thrilling. And when a cult series is headlined by the same iconic actors, the charm is manifold. Written by S N Swamy and directed by K Madhu, 'CBI 5: The Brain' sets the stage ready for the thunderous applause for the entry of Sethurama Iyer. And the brouhaha continued at every interval as each of the celebrated characters appeared. The laudatory hoots and claps when Jagathy Sreekumar appeared were deafening and reminded the magic the living legend once weaved on the screen.

The crimes are the same and entangled in the same mesh of politics-mafia-corrupt police nexus. The means to unravel the mystery are also the same. But what strikes the most is the flow of sequences arrayed engagingly. Another commendable part is that Mammootty as Sethurama Iyer is more poised, grounded and accessible than he was in his previous outings.

The whole episode of the crime investigation is unveiled as part of a flashback at a training camp for a group of newly appointed IPS officers. The tale unwinds as one of the young officers' queries about a case, which the CBI had found tough to crack. Balagopal (Renji Panicker) narrates the case which was the hardest ever in its history and with the legendary Sethurama Iyer at the helm of the investigation team.

The case follows a trail of deaths some years back, which later turned out to be heinous murders, starting with that of a minister on a flight from Delhi to Kochi. The incident is followed by a series of deaths.

Though they all seemed natural deaths prima facie, the police smelt something fishy about them after detecting some connection in all the events. The police team led by DySp Sathyadas (Saikumar) nabbed a suspect in connection with the crime, the case tagged as 'basket killings' is eventually passed on to the CBI. And, naturally, Sethurama Iyer begins the game amid thunderous claps.

The differences between the Kerala Police and the CBI, the lack of proper evidence to nail the culprit, findings that leave no clue to the motive of the crimes baffle the investigation team and the viewers. The brilliance and charisma exuded by Sethurama Iyer ring in hope. However, the narrative is fraught with events and stories inside the stories rather than hurdles that challenge the top investigating officer and his team.

What displays the ingenuity of the top CBI cop is his ability to look "beyond" the seemingly possible conclusion of events and motives that are laid bare before the police. And the answer to why the movie is titled 'The Brain' is best read from the screen only.

Asha Sharath as advocate Prathibha, Soubin Shahir as Mansoor (Sandeep), Anoop Menon as IG Unnithan, Kaniha as Susan are characters who play crucial parts in the saga. Other actors, including Mukesh, Ansiba Hassan, Malavika Menon, Idavela Babu, Ramesh Pisharody, Prasanth Alexander, Kottayam Ramesh play prominent roles.

While Akhil George's camera closely follows the heat of moments, Jakes Bejoy's music, the remixed version of Shyam's original BGM track, has come of the age and gels well with the changing times.

A few misses in simple methods of evidence collection, some distracting indicators, and evidence, which are contradictory and are weak in logic, including the final one which nails the culprit may seem worrisome. But they fail to spoil the thrill of the roller-coaster ride. The movie in fact keeps a tight grip on viewers right from the start to finish. It is the brand of the franchise that outweighs the narrative and the premise. The makers are successful in creating yet another mystery thriller without losing the magnitude of the series and the novelty of the times.

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