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CBI 5 The Brain Review ; Disappointing comeback of Sethurama Iyer, worst movie in the CBI series

Mammootty CBI 5 movie stills

Review for CBI 5: THE BRAIN: 

•Language: MALAYALAM.  

•Duration: 02 Hours 43 Minutes. 




1: Performance of Mammootty. 

2:  Background Score. 

3: Cinematography. 


1:  Poor Story. 

2: Half Baked Screenplay. 

3: Weak Making Style. 

4: The climax twist was not satisfying. 

5: Lengthy Duration of the film. 

6: Editing. 

ONE WORD: Disappointing comeback of Sethurama Iyer, worst movie in the CBI series. 


The story of CBI 5: The Brain revolves around a series of Basket Killings. A State Minister, a police officer and a journalist are the victims of the Basket Killing. The state police department will be given the responsibility to investigate but soon due to the pressure the case will be transferred for the Central Bureau of Investigation. So Sethurama Iyer will be charged to investigate the case but this time he finds many obstacles, how he investigates the case and how he finds the culprit is the remaining story. 


CBI 5: THE BRAIN is directed by K. Madhu and written by S. N. Swamy which includes the story, screenplay and dialogues. This is the fifth instalment of the CBI film series and produced by Swargachitra Appachan under the production company of Swargachitra Films. With a running time of 163 minutes, the film is currently running in theatres with a hundred percent occupancy. 

Sadly to say this but CBI 5: The Brain was a total letdown, it was a highly disappointing experience. Without any doubt, I will strongly say that this fifth part is the worst film in the CBI series, nothing thrilling and nothing interesting. An iconic character was once brought unwantedly and had destroyed the character with a weak script and making.  I was shocked to see how the movie was unfolding, the making style of K.Madhu was like a teleserial, and the direction was like an outdated style. The direction and the script can be labelled as old wine in a new bottle, both the writing and making were boring and as a suspense thriller nothing new was offered rather than the predictable scenes. The events and occurrences in the film were not giving any kind of thrill or excitement, the situations written in the screenplay was reminding me of the pattern of the murder investigation which we can see in television serials. The crimes and the investigation were written very badly, no single scene excited me and here we can see the worst investigation method by the CBI characters. While watching the film I was wondering how SN Swamy will be able to write a tedious script like this, his experience in the writing and his imagination level had surpassed me earlier but in the script of CBI 5: The Brain the writing magic of SN Swamy was missing.

The first major problem of this film is the poor screenplay, how the writer SN Swamy had organised the occurrences in the script won’t fascinate or thrill anyone. The pattern of the happenings in the script is something I have seen in many movies, especially in the Tamil language crime thrillers. The killings methods and the motive behind the crime were written so silly, that a mature way of writing was never felt. The CBI series always has the best-unexpected climax but here that shocking climax was not giving any kind of surprise, the character who is behind the crime was very much predictable. How the crime and its happening are leading the story to the climax was also written poorly, the situations which make the movie forward was not all having any impact. So the connecting scenes which denote the climax were not all thrilling, and why and how the crimes had happened were not written convincingly by SN Swamy. The entire second half was like forcing us to think exactly like the writer, his perspective and his thinking were not satisfying. The writings in the second half lacked the proper detailing and as a director, K. Madhu was not given a quality productive structure. The direction was unstable, the connection from one event to another was happening suddenly without giving enough detailing. As a director he had failed to convince, his way of making was creating a mood of less interest, he should have directed the film realising that the year and the audience had changed. 

The way SN Swamy had written the characters was also bad, the characterization given for the villains were not having any impact to impress. The character played by Soubin Shahir is a crucial character who is supposed to make an influence but that character was written in a lazy manner. The actions and doings of that character were not at all creating an impact, his motives and his beliefs were never justifying the situations. The character of Soubin Shahir was supposed to make a big impact but sadly his character was the one who was making the film less interesting. The film was unnecessarily dragged, the long duration of killing the tolerance and many scenes were added unwantedly. Here the director K. Madhu was unsuccessful in making the movie engaging, his making method was not offering anything new rather than the repetition style of the CBI series. The investigation of Sethurama Iyer is always fascinating to watch, his silent calm attitude during the investigation, his way of finding and his intelligent way of thinking had made this series unique. We will be able to see this pattern but here the melodrama in the script kills the investigation style of Sethurama Iyer.

The mode of investigative style led by Sethurama Iyer maintains an ok flow but the findings and the new evidence were not surprising because those findings were not having the power to engage or dominate our minds. A feeling like I am shocked was never felt at any point, the climax twist, and the prediction of one suspect to another were not having the required amount of thrill. The actual motive behind the crime by the culprit which reveals at the climax was pathetic, it was amateur and the reason was not strong enough to convince. The predictability was also an issue, most of the scenes came out as I thought and it was also sickening for my viewing experience. The main villain who is behind the crime was able to predict easily, after revealing the motive behind the crime was the next annoying thing. The entire writing was scattered with a less engaging screenplay and the dialogues too, it also felt artificial. The conversation between the characters felt unnatural at many points, the dialogues and interrogation scenes of Soubin Shahir. So to conclude, it’s hard to believe that SN Swamy is the man who had written this horrible script and nothing to describe the direction of K. Madhu, it was outdated and his making was boring with fewer interesting moments. 


The film has comprised the casting of Mammootty, Mukesh, Saikumar, Renji Panicker, Jagathy Sreekumar, Anoop Menon, Dileesh Pothan, Asha Sharath, Kaniha, Sudev Nair, Ramesh Pisharody, Soubin Shahir, Anisha Hassan, Santosh Keezhattoor, Idavela Babu, Alexander Prasanth, Rao Ramesh and many more. When someone says CBI the first face to appear in my mind is the figure of Sethurama Iyer, that character is one of the finest written characters I had ever seen. It’s an ironic well-executed character from the writer SN Swamy, his creation of the character Sethurama Iyer had made a great impact on my childhood. I had watched the third and fourth instalments of the CBI series in theatres and the first two parts on the television and the character Sethurama Iyer has influenced me to watch the CBI series again and again. Now after 17 years the character and the investigation gang of Sethurama Iyer are back and I was eagerly excited to see them once more on the bug screen. Without any doubt, I will say that it’s a character made and build for Mammootty and no one can replace him. He is now back and the performance as Sethurama Iyer was fantastic, still, he got that power to make an influence. The long gap of seventeen years doesn’t matter for Mammootty, he was giving his best like usual. The attitude, the mannerism and the nature which we can see in the character Sethurama Iyer were once again successfully brought by Mammootty. He had stolen the show and his striking performance is the first major highlight. The performance itself was worth the money and his entire performance is having the power to attract anyone. How Mammootty as a CBI officer investigates the case was exciting and thrilling to watch, the screen presence was highly obtained with drastic energy. His style of speaking and walking by tying his hands at the back was making my viewing experience remember the old style of Sethurama Iyer. After this big gap, he still follows the manners of the character, and his personality was never missed from the acting. Mammootty had lustrously presented the character with the correct style and his performance was emphasised to show the investigation pattern of the CBI. In the performance of Mammootty, we can see the intense skills of acting, the expressions and the way of body language were guaranteed to showcase his commitment. The sharp and cool way of telling the dialogue was still matching the old style of the character. The situations and the culture followed in the investigation style are now different when compared to the previous instalments but still, Mammootty follows his traditional style and he had never given any extra elements to make the character look different. His way of acting was natural, exactly like the performance in previous installments and the grasp of the character was never missed at any point. How the character played by Mammootty jointly investigates with the team and how they find the culprit was giving the moments of thrill. The main reason for that thrill is the performance from Mammootty, he keeps on entertaining with a serious attitude and a pleasant way of telling the dialogue that made the performance looks authentic. Mukesh as Chacko is back on the team and his performance was acceptable. The body language and the shape was looking different but he had maintained to exhibit the old style of the character. His character teaming with the character Sethurama Iyer for the investigation had brought many memories of the previous CBI series. He had honestly managed to perform like the old way and the ultimate result was satisfying. Jagathy Sreekumar as Vikaram, the Dy.S.P. (Retd.) in C.B.I. is back to do a small cameo role, still, his health needs to get fit but still, his appearance has brought happiness and I hope we will be able to see him doing many roles. He is a legendary actor and I am sure he will be back in his full energetic form to do many wonderful roles. Sai Kumar makes his return to do the role of Dy.S.P. Sathyadas and his performance were extraordinary. He still flawlessly follows the slang of the actor Sukumaran. The character he plays is a corrupted police officer so how he portrayed his role with that characterization was fine. Till the end, he had never diverted his acting skills and the mannerism which that character demanded was genuinely acted out. His dialogue delivery was vividly matching and his timing was precise to maintain the slang. Also, his body mannerism with the slang in the language was maintained without any flaws. Renji Panicker does the role of the new officer in the investigation team as Balagopal, Inspector in C.B.I. and along with him Ramesh Pisharody as Kishore, Sub Inspector in C.B.I. and Prasanth Alexander as Mathews, A.S.I., in C.B.I. also joins Mammootty and Mukesh to assist. This time actress Ansiba Hassan as Jyothi, as a C.B.I. officer trainee, also joins the investigation team to find the truth. These actors had done a neat performance, their attitude toward the CBI officers was satisfying and their teaming with Mammootty and Mukesh was matching the investigation method. Among them, Renji Panicker was having more to perform and his spontaneous dialogue delivery had brought a more intense feel to his performance. Sudev Nair as S.I. Raju Namasivayam, Kerala Police did a notable performance, his way of acting was matching the satire of a police officer. Soubin Shahir’s characters had different names and it was a very crucial role and he performed decently. His acting was giving an ok feel, at most important scenes his slang and the language style don’t properly match the situations. The appearance was good for the character, but the acting felt artificial at some point. His face to face scenes with Mammootty and the questioning scene were not giving an authentic feel, the expression and his talking style had spoiled the depth. Asha Sharath as Adv. Deepa Sreekumar and Kaniha as Susan did their character well, their characters were very important and they did a good job on their performance. Malavika Nair as Anuja and  Anisba Hassan as Jyothi, as a C.B.I. officer trainee did not have much to do, their role was like a normal one and they did a decent job. 


The musical work for this film is tuned by Jakes Bejoy which includes the background score. The original theme of the CBI series is tuned by Shyam which is an iconic blockbuster and now the background score is recreated by Jakes Bejoy. There were no songs in the film and usually the CBI series doesn’t follow the idea of bringing out songs and the same pattern is also followed in this fifth instalment. Without making any songs the music composer Jakes Bejoy had concentrated more on making the background score productive. The film was not that effective but still, the background score was more active, and the tunes had set a standard feel and presence. It’s a crime thriller with a murder backdrop so the building of tension and excitement should be given through the background score and Jakes Bejoy had done a neat job according to the situation. I won’t say that it is his best work but a proper quality was able to be seen throughout the film. During the revealing of suspense and at the time of finding new evidence the background score had helped to make a hype. Still, due to the poor writing of the screenplay, the background score at the twist and suspense doesn’t surprise me much but overall it was good work. 


The technical division had done a good work for this film and a standard quality was seen all over. The cinematography for the film is done by Akhil George and the editing is done by A. Sreekar Prasad. As a newcomer the cinematography of Akhil George was excellent because the quality of the visuals he brought to the screen was convincing. Its an investigation thriller movie with the murder backdrop so the premise of the atmosphere in the movie has matched the storyline perfectly. The shots and the type of frames he brought were nice to watch, various kinds of methods were successfully used in the cinematography. The frames which point out to show the killings and murder has shot a with a credible feel and those visuals had crossed to bring out a a depth. How the actor Mammootty used to portray the character Sethurama Iyer is always interesting to watch and here the cinematographer had captured his screen presence rightly and throughout till the end, we can see his acting amazingly. The investigation method was authentically shot by the cameraman Akhil Geroge, the planning and the findings to capture the culprit were intriguing to watch from the beginning. In the film, we can find good quality close-up shots and those shots pointed out the acting aptitudes of the major actors, especially the facial expressions of Mammootty had been lightened to showcase his intense acting skills. For example, facial expressions such as thinking, tensed face, excitement, eagerness, desperateness and the masterly clever knowledge of finding new proof were captured in the best manner by the cinematographer. The face of purposely hiding the truth can be seen in some characters and that expression with the sudden focus was also effectively shot by the cinematographer. The high angle frames used in the film were alleviated to show some important scenes, the bike riding of the bullet in the forest and the scenes of the bridge and the investigation method was shown through these frames finely. The lighting methods used for the night shots were also executed nicely, the frames were brighter enough to exhibit the night surroundings. The shots used to show the killings were great, that scenes play a very vital role and the impact of the killings was brightly brought without making many fade. The editing of A. Sreekar Prasad was not favourable for the entire film, the cuts and the transition of the scene were fine. The problem was the duration, he should have trimmed the duration, there were many unwanted scenes and it was not removed and felt dragging in the viewing experience. But the colour grading was nice and depending on the type of shots those added grading had given an extra feel. The appearance of Mammootty as Sethurama Iyer was looking vibrant, his costume and dressing style reminded the classic old style of the character but the makeup was not that pleasing, the age and seniority of the character didn’t match the makeup. 


So the film CBI 5: The Brain had given me a disappointing experience because of the poor writing, also the outdated making of K.Madhu was making my viewing experience tedious. Without thinking much I will say that this fifth part is the poorest film in the CBI series, and also the worst script of S.N Swamy. Sadly I didn’t enjoy the film, the plot and the screenplay were not exciting and I had felt lagging in many parts. Therefore to conclude the film CBI 5: The Brain was like a sinking ship and the performance of Mammootty as Sethurama Iyer itself was not able to save it. Therefore I won’t be recommending watching CBI 5: The Brain, better to wait for the OTT release or else watch at your own risk. 



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