Movies inspired by the popular Hollywood franchise The Godfather have been visibly made in every film industry in India. If Bollywood had Sarkar, Nayagan is celebrated as one of the all-time finest movies ever made in Kollywood.
There are endless movies in the country that have shades of Francis Ford Coppola's vision brought alive from the Mario Puzo's creation. Sandalwood, too, is not far behind: There are many crime dramas in Kannada that reminds us of the English flick, including Shivaraj Kumar's Kaddi Pudi.
Now, there is one more movie in the form of Mufti which reminds us of The Godfather. But only a part of the story is inspired from the Hollywood movie and its source material. Director Narthan can take credit for writing a larger part of the story.
Mufti is about undercover agent Gana (Sri Murali), who wants to expose the illegal activities of Bharathiga Ranagal (Shivaraj Kumar), who runs a parallel government in Ronapura.
The cop's target is accessible to only a limited number of people, and getting closer to him takes years of loyalty. With his intelligence, he gets into Ranagal's den. Over time, he rises through the ranks and wins the trust of his boss.
But the cop's views towards Bharathiga Ranagal change dramatically when he is hit by reality. What follows next should be seen on-screen.
In short, Mufti tells the story of a criminal who does good for the people while engaging in illegal activities. The operation to nab him with evidence forms the crux of the story.
The first half belongs to Sri Murali, while Shivaraj Kumar owns the second half. In fact, Shivanna makes an entry only towards the end of the first half.
Sri Murali has carried over his performance from Ugramm, and his body language is perfect for the role. Shivanna steals the show despite taking up a machete only in the climax!
Shivaraj Kumar's facial expressions mirror his talent. This is probably the only film where you would not see a smiling Shivanna; truly a serious role for him.
Shanvi Srivastava appears in a handful of scenes, and her presence does not make any difference to the story whatsoever. Devaraj, Sadhu Kokila, Vasistha and Chikanna have played their parts well.
Naveen Kumar's cinematography is top class. Ravi Basrur's background score overlaps with the dialogues in the initial part of the movie, but blends well with the situations later.
The story is a feast for lovers of action movies. The fights and dialogues get full marks. But the storytelling is not impressive and turns out to be predictable for the most part.
The length of the film is a big concern. The same story with crisper narration would have had a much better impact on viewers.
The absence of plot twists in the narration and too much focus on glorifying the heroes play spoilsport.
Nonetheless, scenes such as Sri Murali stealing from a running train and the way he eliminates Vasishta are truly whistle-worthy moments.
Verdict: A feast for the lovers of action movies and the fans of the heroes, but a lacklustre flick for others.