CBI 5: The Brain Review

Mammootty should sign up for an OTT series because he’s too charismatic to let this be our last memory of the CBI diaries, suggests Divya Nair.
SPOILERS AHEAD.

After Drishyam 2 and Marakkar, CBI 5: The Brain was one of the most anticipated Malayalam films to release in recent times.

I was deeply disappointed when I missed watching the fifth installment of the successful series in a theatre. My father had watched it and was thrilled.

In fact, each time he raved about it, I had a tough time telling him not to reveal the plot or twist.

When the film finally released on Netflix, I watched it first day first show in the comfort of my home.

Directed by K Madhu and written by S N Swamy, CBI 5: The Brain begins with CBI officer Balagopal (Renji Panicker) hosting a seminar for the new batch of IPS officers where he narrates an unusual but interesting murder mystery solved by the CBI team under the leadership of the brainy Sethurama Iyer (Mammootty).

The film begins with the state’s home minister succumbing to a cardiac arrest on a flight from Delhi to Kochi.

Although no foul play is established, two other people, including the minister’s doctor and a journalist who suspects a link, are also found dead in mysterious circumstances.

When former CBI officer Josemon is killed in an accident, the case is handed to the CBI after the police fail to nab the culprits.

When Mammootty marks his entrance on screen with the trademark CBI background score, I had goosebumps.

Enter Mukesh as Chacko and as part of the investigation they bump into their old nemesis Sathyadas (Saikumar) taking you on a short nostalgia trip of the ’90s.

When they finally meet Vikram, (an ailing Jagathy Sreekumarshown as a retired CBI officer in a guest appearance) the CBI trio somehow feels complete.

By now, the makers have spent a good 30 minutes or more trying to establish the importance of its key characters and create some curiosity about the killings. But now what?

The chase leads to a set of useful and unimportant links which drag the film to another hour or so.

Frankly, I am tired, annoyed and want to fast forward to the mastermind, if there is one.

The mastermind is only revealed in the last 15 minutes.

But was it worth all the drama and chase?

C’mon, we are in 2022, where teenagers have killed themselves, hoping to win an online bounty. So discussing a 2012 case in which a man with many aliases hacked a pacemaker to kill someone seemed too vain for me.

The plot, I am sorry to say, failed to do justice for its characters.

Maybe people in the audience, like my father, got sentimental watching their favourite stars on screen.

He told me how people whistled and stood up watching Jagathy simply smile and nod. ‘Verum dummy, but… (simply, a dummy…)’ he’d told me and I believed him.

Like in the earlier series, the dummy my father mentioned (Jagathy) helps crack the case.

In hindsight, I feel, Mammootty should sign up for an OTT series because he’s too charismatic to let this be our last memory of the CBI diaries.

As for me, I am just super glad I didn’t spend big bucks to watch it in a theatre.

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