Marakkar Lion of the Arabian Sea movie review: Grand!

Marakkar Lion of the Arabian Sea movie review: Grand!

What: Marakkar Lion of the Arabian Sea is Malayalam cinema's biggest film to date. Priyadarshan helms this prestigious film which has some big names like Mohan Lal, Sunil Shetty, and Keerthy Suresh in key roles. The film is about Kunjali Marakkar, a warrior who fought in the army of the Zamorin in 16th century Kozhikode and was instrumental in defending the coast from the Portuguese.

Marakkar Lion of the Arabian Sea won three national awards at the 67th National Film Awards in the best feature film (Priyadarshan, Antony Perumbavoor), Best Costume Design (Sujith Sudhakaran, V. Sai) and Best Special Effects (Siddharth Priyadarshan). Let's review and see if the film lives up to its hype or not.

Marakkar Lion of the Arabian Sea movie synopsis

Mohammad Ali aka Kunjali(Mohan Lal) is all set to get married to Ayesha(Kalyani Priyadarshan). But bloodshed happens in his tribe and several Kunjalihas get killed. Kunjali leaves the place and hides in the forest only to become a Robinhood kind of a character. This is also the time when the Zamorin kingdom is being attacked by the Portuguese. Left with no choice, the leaders of Zomiron request Kunjali to fight for them. The rest of the story is as to how Kunjali becomes this naval commander of the Zomiron kingdom and fights the Portuguese.


National Award winner Marakkar Lion of the Arabian Sea movie review

Marakkar is based on a real-life story but director Priyadarshan has added a lot of fictional elements to it to make things cinematic. In this aspect, he succeeds. He starts the film well and establishes each character in an interesting manner. The transition of the hero's character, the issues faced by the Zomiron kingdom, and how Mohan Lal comes to their aid are brought in well in the first half which is packed with good drama and action blocks.

But where did the film goes down? It is indeed the second half and the entrance of Keerty Suresh's character which takes the film in another direction. Direction Priyadarshan also narrates the second half in a very dull manner. The length of this part is long and things struggle to get to the finish line.

In all this, Siddharth's VFX surely catches the imagination as some brilliant scenes are unleashed time and again.

 Marakakr is Priyadarshan's baby which he has envisioned for a long time. That is the reason, he does not let go of many scenes and this is where the film gets tiring and boring.

The film has traces of Troy and Baahubali and that is evident in the war scenes of the film. After a point, the emotions get diluted and the purpose is sidelined. The story is also dragged and the emotions in the second half get repetitive. Visually, the film is grand but will not hold you in your seats entirely like a great war/period drama.


The film is filled with multiple stars and each of them has an etched role perfectly. Let's start with Mohan Lal. Even at this age, he is agile and breathes life into the role of Kunjali. His solid screen presence is the one aspect that drives the film till the end.

Noted actress, Manju Warrier plays a widow and her role looks forced into the narrative. Though she does well, there is no depth. Arjun, Sunil Shetty, Nedumudi Venu, and others are impressive in their supporting roles. Mohan Lal's son, Pranav plays young Kunjali and he is very good. Siddique and Ashok Selvan are also perfect in their roles.

Technical Aspects

Malayalam cinema has always been high on technical aspects and it goes a notch higher with Marakkar. The only thing that hits you first is the scale of the film. Sabu Cyril breathes life into the sets making the film look grand and colorful. The production design, the costumes by Sujith Sudhakaran and V. Sai are chosen rightly for each character keeping the ancient history of Kerala in mind.

However, the Telugu dubbing could have been a lot better. Priyadarshan has written this film and his story is inspired by films like Troy and Baahubali. The screenplay is a tad slow as Priyadarshan narrates this film at a leisure pace. Action blocks are also very good in the first half. The special effects are also very good and have been designed in a neat manner.

Final Words

Marakkar is surely one of the visually brilliant films made in Malayalam cinema. The film is filled with ample stars and has a good dose of action and thrill. But a lengthy second half and repetitive scenes disturb the flow a bit.


Rating : 3/5

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About Filmi Ilmi

Filmi Ilmi

A a vagabond, seeker, explorer, writer, movie critic, doesn't believe in destination just enjoys the journey post on FB/cineblues/ More By Filmi Ilmi

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