Mr. Fraud

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Mr. Fraud
Mr. Fraud.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by B. Unnikrishnan
Produced by A.V. Anoop
Written by B. Unnikrishnan
Starring
Music by Gopi Sunder
Cinematography Satheesh Kurup
Edited by Manoj
Production
company
Distributed by
Release date
  • 17 May 2014 (2014-05-17)
(India)
  • 23 May 2014 (2014-05-23)
(overseas)
Running time
138 minutes
Country India
Language Malayalam

Mr. Fraud is a 2014 Malayalam action-thriller heist film written and directed by B. Unnikrishnan and starring Mohanlal, Dev Gill, Vijay Babu, Miya George, Manjari Phadnis and Pallavi Purohit.[1] The film is produced by A. V Anoop under the banner A. V. A Productions. The story is about a conman whose task is to plunder the treasure from a royal household.[2]

The film's soundtrack and background score were composed by Gopi Sunder. Stunt choreography is by Stunt Silva.[3] The film released on 17 May.[4] Upon release the film received mixed reviews from critics.[5]

Plot[edit]

The film begins with a flashback where two brothers Ravindra Varma(V. K. Sreeraman) and Mahendra Varma(Kalasala Babu) fighting for the royal family treasure along with their sons. During the fight a prism from the idol of the goddess explodes. The brothers get frightened and immediately stop the fight. After conducting certain rituals, they find that the goddess is angry because of the bloodshed that happened and it is decided that the treasure will be locked for 41 years.

Present - a conman called Bhai Ji(Mohanlal) disguises as John Cliff and successfully loots 10cr from a wedding along with his assistants Abbas(Vijay Babu) and Priya(Manjari Phadnis). At that time, his acquaintance Javed introduces him to Nikhil Adharva aka Nikki(Dev Gill) who tells Bhai Ji about the royal treasure and the story behind it. He shows him the list of royal family members who are inheriting the treasure. They are Ravindra Varma's sons Vasudeva Varma(P. Balachandran) and Sri Krishna Varma(Devan) and Mahendra Varma's sons Shekhara Varma(Vijayakumar) who is the royal head and Rajashekhara Varma(Siddique). Nikki tells that Rajashekhara Varma has moved to the court stating that the treasure should be given back to the government and used for helping the public rather than dividing among themselves. The case is pending in the court and this will be the right chance to steal it. Bhai Ji demands 500cr for doing the job and an advance of 250cr before doing it.

Meanwhile, the family makes tight security arrangements as they fear a heist and the police also sends Intelligence Officer Sajan(Sai Kumar). They appoint a private consultant named Sivaram from Jaipur to assess the value of the treasure but before he reaches there Bhai Ji kidnaps him and takes his place.

Rajashekara Varma takes Bhai Ji to the royal palace where he meets the other family members. Later the cellar is opened and Bhai Ji begins assessing the value of the treasure. He realizes that this is the riskiest mission he has ever attempted. Meanwhile, Rajashekhara Varma is attacked by some goons and before they could kill him, Bhai Ji arrives, fights with the goons and saves him. Rajashekhara Varma thanks, Bhai Ji for saving his life but Sajan and Saraswathy have suspicions. Soon Nikki and Javed arrive along with the real Sivaram and meet Bhai Ji. He gives them video clippings of the treasures he shot and tells Nikki to make a replica of it. Nikki agrees and leaves. Meanwhile, Rajashekar has become friends with Bhai Ji and tells about Sarawathy and shows him the school run by her which is still under construction.

Bhai Ji and his assistants decide to find out a way to take the treasure from the cellar. He guesses that there should be a secret path behind the cellar that would lead to another exit after studying the architecture of several other palaces. In the night, the three of them go out to find the door. Bhai Ji enters the cellar and using a metal detector finds the passage and the exit point. Before leaving out of the cellar, he talks to the idol and tells that now there is a secret between them which is also known to someone else. Sajan accidentally tells the other family members regarding Saraswathy's past which only he and Rajashekara Varma knew. Saraswathy was raped by unknown people when she was only 12 years and Rajashekhara Varma had adopted her after that incident. He even instructed Sajan who was trying to find the culprits to close the case. Rajashekhara Varma's daughters and their husbands threaten him to withdraw the case he had filed or else they would file another case to re-investigate the issue.

An infuriated Rajashekhara Varma starts to hit Sajan and Bhai Ji intervenes. Sajan narrates the incident to Bhai Ji. Nearly 15 years back he was chasing a thief who had robbed a bank and on the way he encountered an unconscious Saraswathy. He takes her to the hospital and informs Rajashekhara Varma who was the local MLA. Though they try to find the culprits they don't succeed. So Rajashekhara Varma tells Sajan not to charge any case as it would affect her future and Rajashekhara Varma adopts her. Sajan also tells Bhai Ji that though he had a suspicion on him he is now convinced that Bhai Ji is innocent and that he has found out the people who were behind the attack on Rajashekhara Varma and that he was planning to meet them at night when a party will be conducted at the palace. Bhai Ji tells that it is dangerous for Sajan to go alone and he would accompany him, but Sajan refuses Bhai Ji's help. Saraswathy comes to the palace along with Rajashekhara Varma and tells the family members that they can do whatever they want, but her father wouldn't withdraw the case. Shekara Varma comes in defense of Saraswathi and promises her that no one will harm her. Bhai Ji is disturbed and when asked by Abbas and Priya he tells them that he was the thief that Sajan was chasing and on the way he saw three people chasing Saraswathy. He extended his hand to help her while he was driving, but she missed it. He became confused whether to stop and save the girl or run away as the police were right behind him. He decided to move away from there to avoid getting caught.

He tells them that from that day the incident used to haunt him and he was shocked to see the girl again. That night after the party Nikki and gang arrive with the duplicate treasure and they begin the heist. Bhai Ji enters the cellar through the secret tunnel and Nikki places a GPS inside the boxes to make sure that Bhai Ji doesn't cheat them. After taking the treasure out, Nikki informs Bhai Ji that the final transaction will be in Jaipur and Abbas can come with them so that Bhai Ji can trust them. The next day Bhai Ji submits his evaluation report and before he leaves Police arrive there and informs them that Sajan has been murdered and arrest Rajashekhara Varma as he is the main suspect. Bhai Ji leaves for Jaipur.There Javed and Nikki tells him that they are not going to pay him anything and he should return the 250cr back if he wants Abbas back. Bhai Ji tells them that a few more people have to come there and tells them that he has brought the 3rd party(unknown entity) that teamed up with Nikki and hired him for the heist. The unknown entity happens to be Shekhara Varma and his son Sudhakara Varma who was captured by Bhai Ji's man Bittoo(Stunt Silva) when they came to Jaipur for the final transaction. Bhai Ji tells Shekhara Varma that he knows well about him and he is not a simple person like others think but a cruel and wicked person.He tells him that it was the goddess which told him the truth. When Bhai Ji was searching for the door to a secret tunnel inside the cellar he finds an old bullet stuck on the walls and he realized how the prism broke. During the fight when Vasudeva Varma was going to strike Shekara Varma with a sword he secretly had a gun with which he shot at the prism.

Mahendra Varma found out about his son's evilness and lied to others about the goddess' wrath and locked the cellar as a punishment for Shekhara Varma. Though he was happy with getting one-fourth of the treasure he was upset when his brother Rajashekhara Varma filed a case and this prompted him to join with Nikki and plan a heist. Even he was the one who planned to kill Rajashekhara Varma so that if he dies Vasudeva Varma and Sri Krishna Varma would become the suspects and they will begin to distrust each other while Shekhara Varma can move forward with the case and extend the time for a heist. Bhai Ji knows that it was Sudhakara Varma who killed Sajan and Abbas had secretly shot the murder in his phone upon Bhai Ji's instruction and the visuals have been sent to the Police.A fight starts and after some time Abbas has Nikki at his gunpoint after Bhai Ji defeats him. Javed begs for mercy and Bhai Ji tells him to take the van having the treasure to a place along with Sudhakara Varma and Sivaram. After they leave he tells Nikki and Shekhara Varma that Abbas had planted a bomb in the Van and presses the button triggering a blast which kills the three of them and he shoots Nikki and kills him. Bhai leaves a gun back telling Shekara Varma that it was destiny that brought him there for the job and he had never stolen the treasure.Instead, he exchanged the treasure between the boxes along with the boxes and that he got 250cr for doing nothing. He also leaves telling that Shekhara Varma can choose his punishment.

Shekara Varma commits suicide by shooting himself. 2 years later the construction of Saraswathy's school is completed and Bhai Ji visits Saraswathy and Rajashekhara Varma. They thank him for all the help he did like funding for the school, helping Rajashekhara Varma to win the case and also saving him from Sajan murder case. Bhai Ji confesses to Sarawathy that he was the man who had offered his hand to save her but couldn't do it and he tells them that this is his only confession. When Saraswathy asks him his real name he tells her that she can call him Mr. Fraud.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Genre[edit]

According to B. Unnikrishnan, Mr. Fraud is not a total heist film, neither does it quite follow the conventions and cliches of a crime caper. "Mr. Fraud is a curious mix. It is part grey, part action, part thriller and part musical," says the director.[6] He adds: "It’s the first time I am attempting this genre, I have never tried my hands at a potboiler before. The film has tastefully-shot songs, daredevil stunts, high-voltage drama and coiled suspense. At the same time it’s not a mindless medley as Mr Fraud also has a focused storyline to keep the viewers hooked. Mr Fraud zooms into a spate of unexpected events that come his way and how he negotiates the situation. It’s more of an emotional thriller."[7]

Filming[edit]

Though delayed for a while due to Mohanlal's Ayurvedic treatment, the film commenced its production on 19 February 2014.[8][9] The film was shot mainly from Ottappalam and Kochi in two schedules.[10] Aspinwall House, Kochi was a significant location.[11] The climax scenes were shot from Mumbai and Jaipur. The shooting of the film was wrapped on the day of Vishu festival (15 April) in Jaipur.[12]

Release[edit]

The film was slated to be released on 8 May 2014. However, the Film Exhibitors Federation imposed a ban on the film in protest against B. Unnikrishnan's alleged instructions to the Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) and Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) representatives not to participate in the inauguration function of the federation’s new office building.[13] The issue reached a flashpoint with the FEFKA saying that no other Malayalam film will be released in cinemas refusing to screen Mr. Fraud.[14][15] Finally, Exhibitors Federation allowed to release Mr. Fraud, but imposed a blanket ban on B. Unnikrishnan. Liberty Basheer, the president of Exhibitors Federation said in a statement: "The federation had announced the ban on the film without any prior intimation and we don't want the distributor or the producer to incur any losses because of this. So the Mohanlal-starrer will hit the theatres on the said date. But we won't exhibit any film that Unnikrishnan plans to write, direct or produce in the future in Kerala."[16]

There were allegations that the controversy over the ban on the film had been a marketing strategy which director B. Unnikrishnan called "baseless".[17]

The film released on 17 May.[18] An Android app was developed to publicise details of the film.[19]

The channel satellite rights were sold to Surya TV for an amount of 6.5 crore (US$1.0 million).[20]

Critical response[edit]

The film received mixed reviews from critics.[5]

Aswin J. Kumar from The Times of India rated the film 2.5 in a scale of 5 and said, "Mr Fraud is not at all such a tedious watch with its luxuriant display of gadgets, air-screen projectors and dialogues resonant with technical terms. The fight and chase happen with the accompaniment of dry leaves propelled away with vigour, but certainly not as unbearable as the tiring song sequences which offer no mercy for ears."[21] Sify.com's reviewer gave the verdict as "average" and commented, "With a rather flimsy premise, the film is presented in a grand scale, but it is evident that the opulence is limited to some colourful garments, swanky cars and technical gimmicks."[22] International Business Times wrote: "Mr Fraud is a decent masala entertainer, though it not as gripping as one would expect from a heist film."[5] Paresh C. Palicha of Rediff.com rated the film 2 in a scale of 5 and concluded that "only the hardcore Mohanlal fans will like Mr Fraud which is otherwise an uninteresting film."[23]

Chandrakanth Viswanath of The New Indian Express described the film as "a fine attempt in a novel genre" and concluded his review saying: "Carved in the popular format, with enough action-packed sequences and convincing performances, coupled with technical finesse, Mr Fraud has the potential to win hearts of die-hard Mohanlal fans and thrill junkies alike.".[24]

Soundtrack[edit]

Mr. Fraud
Soundtrack album by Gopi Sunder
Released
  • 25 April 2014 (2014-04-25)
Genre Film soundtrack
Length 20:13
Language Malayalam
Label Muzik 247
Producer Gopi Sunder
Gopi Sunder chronology
How Old Are You
(2014)How Old Are You2014
Mr. Fraud
(2014)
Bangalore Days
(2014)Bangalore Days2014

The soundtrack and background score were composed by Gopi Sunder. The lyrics were written by Harinarayanan and Chittoor Gopi. The film has four songs including the theme track sung by the composer himself, along with San Jaimt, and a re-orchestrated version of the keerthana, "Sadaa Paalaya", sung by Carnatic vocalist G. N. Balasubramaniam.[25] The song "Poothinkale" sung by Shankar Mahadevan, in which Mohanlal appears in a rock star getup with salt and pepper look, went viral in music sharing websites.The song Sada Paalaya received positive response from audiences [26]

Track listing
No. Title Lyrics Singer(s) Length
1. "Poonthinkale" Chittor Gopi Shankar Mahadevan, Shakthisree Gopalan 5:02
2. "Khuda Woh Khuda" Harinarayanan Shankar Mahadevan 6:45
3. "Sadaa Paalaya" G. N. Balasubramaniam Sudeep Kumar, Sithara 5:12
4. "Mr.Fraud Theme" Gopi Sunder Gopi Sunder, San Jaimt 3:15
Total length: 20:14

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mr. Fraud". Nowrunning.com. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  2. ^ A Sharadhaa (9 December 2014). "Ravichandran to Remake Mr Fraud". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  3. ^ "Mr. Fraud". Oneindia.in. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  4. ^ Saraswathy Nagarajan (15 May 2014). "Mr. Fraud comes to town". The Hindu. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Sangeetha Seshagiri (18 May 2014). "'Mr Fraud' Review Roundup: Mohanlal Starrer Gets Mixed Reactions". International Business Times. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  6. ^ Vijay G. (16 May 2014). "It's Mohanlal v/s Manju Warrier this weekend". Rediff.com. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  7. ^ Navamy Sudhish (13 May 2014). "On a Con Outing". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  8. ^ Deepa Soman (20 February 2014). "Mr Fraud shooting starts". The Times of India. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  9. ^ "'Mr Fraud' starts rolling". Nowrunning.com. 19 February 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Mr.Fraud has many names, clarifies B Unnikrishnan". Sify.com. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  11. ^ Shibu B S (2 April 2015). "Kochi Says Lights, Action, Camera!". Kochi. The New Indian Express. Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  12. ^ Gayathri V. Pillai (14 April 2014). "Mr Fraud To Complete Shooting Tomorrow , Trailer On 25th!". Oneindia.in. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  13. ^ "Will Not Screen 'Mr Fraud: Film Exhibitors Federation". The New Indian Express. 24 April 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  14. ^ G. Krishnakumar (3 May 2014). "Fate of Mr. Fraud remains uncertain". The Hindu. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  15. ^ "FEFKA Toughens Stance against Call to Boycott Screening of Mr Fraud". The New Indian Express. 29 April 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  16. ^ Shruti Karthikeyan (14 May 2014). "Film exhibitors impose the blanket ban on director B Unnikrishnan". The Times of India. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  17. ^ "Were the controversies a market gimmick for Mr. Fraud?". Sify.com. 10 May 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  18. ^ Sangeetha Seshagiri (14 May 2014). "Box Office Clash: Mohanlal's 'Mr Fraud' to Take on Manju Warrier's 'How Old Are You?'". International Business Times. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  19. ^ Deepa Soman (10 May 2014). "Android app for Mr Fraud". The Times of India. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  20. ^ Priya Prakashan (28 April 2014). "Mohanlal’s Mr. Fraud song Khuda Oh Khuda: Shankar Mahadevan sings the Hindi-Malayalam number". India.com. Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  21. ^ Aswin J. Kumar (18 May 2014). "Mr Fraud". The Times of India. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  22. ^ "Mr. Fraud". Sify.com. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  23. ^ Paresh C. Palicha (19 May 2014). "Review: Mr Fraud does not entertain". Rediff.com. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  24. ^ Chandrakanth Viswanath (18 May 2014). "A Fine Attempt in a Novel Genre". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  25. ^ Parvathy Nambidi (29 April 2014). "On the Wings of Music". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  26. ^ Radhika C. Pillai (5 May 2014). "Mr. Fraud song is released !". The Times of India. Retrieved 18 May 2014.

External links[edit]