Verdict: Prithviraj helms this edge-of-your-seat thriller with panache.
A heads-up before you go to watch 9 – do not expect a dramatic horror movie. The film broadly falls in the horror and sci-fi category, one that has been rarely attempted in Malayalam cinema. Kudos to writer-director Jenuse Mohammed for penning an almost-flawless movie. While 9 is the debut venture of Prithviraj Productions, it also marks the entry of Sony Pictures into the regional film industry. Besides Prithviraj, the movie stars Master Alok, Mamta Mohandas, Wamiqa Gabbi, Uday Chandra, Tony Luke and Prakash Raj in prominent roles. The music is handled by Shaan Rahman and Sekhar Menon and cinematography by Abhinandan Ramanujam.
What’s 9 About:
Albert Lewis (Prithviraj) is an astrophysicist who is sent by his mentor Dr. Inayat Khan (Prakash Raj) to study a cosmic event near the Himalayas. A comet would travel near the earth’s surface leaving the planet in an electromagnetic bubble for nine days. A widower, Albert decides to travel with his son Adam (Master Alok) and his team comprising Sandeep (Tony Luke) and Divya to set base there. Albert, who lost his wife, Annie (Mamta Mohandas) during childbirth, has a strained relationship with his 7-year-old son. The movie spans through the nine days of darkness and uncertainty that questions the ethos of Albert the scientist.
Prithviraj claims his place in the industry with his sincere performance as the seasoned scientist. Master Alok does a fine job as a scared child who does not understand the world of magic realism. The movie firmly rests on the performance of the father-son duo. Prakash Raj, Mamta Mohandas, and Waqima Gabbi have pivotal roles that add weight to the story. What makes 9 stand out are its picturesque frames, attention to detail, and the background score that add to the thriller quotient. The nine days shrouded in mystery and darkness are portrayed through grey frames. Uday Chandra, who plays the caretaker has done a superb job. There may be many occasions that question the relevance of certain sequences in the film but the twist in the climax brushes it all away. The songs make for a decent playlist and the graphics used to bring certain animals to the screen are one of the better ones that Malayalam cinema has seen. For its technical aspects, 9 can easily be voted as one of the industry’s best efforts till date.
What Could’ve Been Better:
There is hardly anything to fault in 9. Although there are moments that use cliched tactics like people appearing in unexpected corners, these minor flaws can be forgiven. Ample time has been given to the building up of the story, which might seem stretched at times.
Why You Should Watch:
Prithviraj is a director’s actor and director Jenuse Mohammed has brought out one of his better performances. The movie is a mixed bag of science fiction, drama, and horror – something you should not miss this weekend.