Review: Action Hero Biju – All in a Day’s Work

Action Hero Biju came with a huge baggage — Abrid Shine’s debut feature ‘1983’ still remains a hot family favorite and the film’s hero Nivin Pauly is steadily transforming himself to a superstar from his ‘boy next door’ image with series of superhits. So when the director set out to take us on “a ride with a police officer,” he leaves no stone unturned to entertain with a potent mix of comedy, emotions and action.

Sub Inspector Biju who left the job of a college lecturer to join the police force out of his respect for Khaki, is sensitive to the grievances of the common man and tries to solve them well within the constraints of his stature and the system. He believes that a police station is where most of the poor are delivered justice, and not in the courts. A series of crimes that he attends to in a typical workday, ranging from eve teasing to deadly gangsters reigning at large in the city, unravels the hero in him to the audience.

One would appreciate the whiff of fresh air that Abrid Shine brings into the film through the natural dialogues and a typical police station setting with all the noise and chaos. Some of the subplots or the little snippets of life that the complainants at the police station bring are mostly fresh and well-written. The two-scene thunder that Suraj Venjaramoodu steals through his subtle performance and the scene involving a mother and child attempting to commit suicide, leave quite an impact.

This cop story provides some respite to those who suffer from ”genre burnout’ due to the high decibel drama that goes into them. There is freshness in treatment for most part; however, the storytelling occasionally takes a hit with the usual fare of punch lines, action and crass humor involving the typical soft targets in mainstream cinema, such as the third gender and dark-skinned women. It seems that even the protagonist, who we are told is a policeman with a difference, can’t escape from the stereotype mould of a loud, sexist and violent man in khaki.

Nivin Pauly fits the bill as SI Biju, though he does not try to lift the character in any way out of the ordinary. The film benefits immensely from good writing and apt casting. Setting the right ambience using some natural ambient noise with occasional use of sync sound and pleasing cinematography are the other high points. Master composer Jerry Amaldev returns from a long hiatus to score music for this film and his melodies carry the retro magic that can leave you wanting more.

For most of the runtime, the proceedings go as smooth and natural as they can be, but just when we were expecting it all to end soon, a long action sequence is sneaked in, only to boost Nivin Pauly’s newfound superstardom. Such compromises hamper storytelling once in a while. The protagonist’s lady love or his family does not get much screen time, thanks to the format of weaving in a multitude of stories into a single narrative.

Though the film is unlikely to be a grosser like Premam, it gives a fillip to Nivin Pauly’s stardom and may rake in some profit for his new production company. For Abrid Shine, this is the second hit in a row that reinforces his stature as an entertainer who is capable of thinking out of the box. Overall, Action Hero Biju is a mixed bag—it took off with a lot of promise and delivered only as much as you can expect from a typical Nivin Pauly flick.