Kannur Squad review: Mammootty’s latest cop story is both realistic and cinematic

Despite its predictable story, the cinematic liberty used by director Roby Varghese Raj hooks the audience till the end.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published:Sep 28, 2023

Mammootty in Roby Varghese Raj Kannur Squad
A riveting investigative thriller.

Kannur Squad (Malayalam)

  • Cast: Mammootty, Vijayaraghavan, Azeez Nedumangad, Shabareesh Varma, and Rony David Raj
  • Director: Roby Varghese Raj
  • Producer: Mammootty Kampany
  • Music: Sushin Shyam
  • Runtime: 2 hours 41 minutes

Police stories are not new for Mammootty. When the actor mistakenly revealed the name of Kannur Squad during an interview, it was clear that his latest outing would be a thriller.

However, the challenge here is how the actor would pull off the character (of a cop_ which he played several times in his career.

Kannur Squad, as the name suggests, is a squad formed under the Superintendent of Police in the Kannur district. It is based on real-life police investigation stories till the first half.

Indeed, during promotional interviews, the makers revealed that they used real-life police stories and added fiction to develop the plot.

Now, let’s see how this Mammootty-starrer fares:


Kannur Squad is produced by Mammootty Kampany

‘Kannur Squad’ is produced by Mammootty Kampany. (Supplied)

The events of the story occur between 2015 and 2017.

Assistant Superintendent of Police George Martin and his three-member police gang are part of the Kannur Squad, a shrewd team capable of solving unsolved cases.

The movie starts with a slow pace as George and his team investigate a few murder cases. As they crack the cases, the director gives a base for the investigation team. well, this technique is nothing new in police stories.

Initially, it feels like the film is all about different cases handled by the Kannur Squad. But the story changes to a single investigation as the team gets their new assignment — a high-profile murder case  (of a politician).

Abdul Wahab (Manoj KU) gets killed and his house is robbed. With leads in hand and owing to political pressure, the cops hand over the case to the Kannur Squad.

But the squad isn’t in its glory now as Jayan (Rony David), one of the members, is accused of bribery. This affects the spirits of other members — Jose (Aziz Nedumangad) and Mohammed Shafi (Shabareesh Varma) who complain about his actions to George.

There arises friction among them, but they join George to solve the high-profile case.

Though the culprits are revealed at the beginning, the movie hooks the audience with its presentation, especially the process of nabbing the perpetrators.

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A slice of life

Vijayaraghavan as Krishnalal in Kannur Squad

Vijayaraghavan as Krishnalal in ‘Kannur Squad’. (Supplied)

In between their investigation, the script gives space to include the life of policemen, just like in the web series Delhi Crime (2019 & 2022) and Paatal Lok (2020).

Scriptwriters Shafi and Rony David intricately weave the crime investigation with the emotional journey of lower-rung police officers.

How these cops make both ends meet in spite of their job is showcased sensibly, though it’s cliched.

Kannur Squad has a predictable story, given the high-profile case. The Tamil movie Theeran (2017) and the Malayalam movie Kuttavum Shikshayum (2022) also depicted police travelling to North Indian villages in search of criminals.

Nevertheless, what makes this flick different from the others is the cinematic liberty used by director Roby Varghese Raj.

There is gore in Kannur Squad too as George shoots at the finger of a suspect and there are scenes of burnt bodies. Well, violence seems to have become the new normal in Malayalam movies of late!

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Shabareesh as Muhammed Shafi in Kannur Squad

Shabareesh as Muhammed Shafi in ‘Kannur Squad’. (Supplied)

One of the major highlights of Kannur Squad is the investigation angle which makes the movie a thriller.

George and his team travel to Mumbai, Faizabad (UP) and even to the Indo-Nepal border to nab the criminals.

Their journey gives an insight into the risks taken by police officials to nab culprits.

Another highlight is the encounter scene in Tikri village, Uttar Pradesh where George and his team are involved in a fight against the locals. The action choreography plays a crucial role in this scene.

The background music by Sushin Syam elevates the action sequences and the investigation scenes. The songs are also good, especially the first one.

Having been shot in multiple locations — Kannur, Kasargod, Ernakulam, Uttar Pradesh, and Mumbai — Kannur Squad carries the feel of a travel movie.

Muhammed Rahil’s frames capture the beauty of these places, especially the action sequences in Tikri village and in the climax. Further, the journey allows capturing the beauty of highways and forest areas in different parts of the country.

Debutant director Roby Varghese Raj handles everything well. Mass scenes of Mammootty, especially in the second half, take the movie to another level.

The script establishes all the characters well and maintains an emotional connection with the viewers throughout.

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Kannur Squad will release on 28 September

‘Kannur Squad’ is an investigative thriller. (Supplied)

Mammootty steals the show in Kannur Squad with his charismatic presence as George Martin.

The makers gave enough room for the veteran actor to showcase his heroism which was not there in Unda (2019), a realistic police story.

Comedy actor Aziz Nedumangad gets a prominent role as Jose. This will definitely give him a much-needed break in his career.

Shabareesh Varma is decent as a police officer.

Rony David, who is the co-writer, excels in emotional scenes.

The movie also features Kishore as SP Manu Neethi Cholan, a supportive police officer who speaks about his background filled with poverty to senior officials. These are some dramatic scenes but the actor did well.

Vijayaraghavan as a senior cop is decent.

There is no female lead in the movie and the women characters are not of any significance.


Kannur Squad is a technically sound film that adopts a “realistic story” approach. It turns cinematic in the second half which only keeps audiences hooked to their seats.

(Views expressed here are personal.)