Tovino Thomas’ Theevandi

Watching #Theevandi, I realised how Mollywood handles their erring lead characters. Take #TovinoThomas for example — the characters he plays are generally not squeaky clean (Mayaanadhi, Maradona, Theevandi). But none of these characters are ‘glorified’ for what they do. In Theevandi, for example, Bineesh aka Theevandi gets slapped several times by his girlfriend for not quitting smoking. Theevandi gives a few funny bits about how expensive smoking has become. But smoking is never really made to look cool. In Maradona, the film makes it quite clear that hero is quite an ass.
Mollywood is straddling the line between representation and glorification quite well, unlike Tollywood or Kollywood. (Geetha Govindam, or Seemaraja, are examples)

Theevandi is another fun addition to my ‘Mollywood films I loved’ list. They have a great ability to spin real, rooted narratives from a seemingly simple one-liner. And it’s not just about the story too. After his girlfriend end their engagement because he didn’t quit smoking, Bineesh is in his room, fidgeting with a cigarette that is encircled by his engagement ring. For a moment there’s confusion, he doesn’t know what to do. Quit smoking and save his engagement? But the habit is now several years deep. He picks the cigarette, but can’t bring himself to light it, throws it away in a fit of anger; fiddles with a light switch, going back and forth between light and darkness — clarity and impulse. Finally not able to control himself, he empties his ashtray to find an almost-done cigarette, that can give him a few puffs. The camera slowly pulls back to shows us Bineesh behind window-bars, jailed by his own habits. This is one of the few serious moments in the film and there isn’t one dialogue in the entire scene. Theevandi doesn’t try to become a message movie. And that’s what is great about Mollywood. To not go over and beyond and stick to content that marries great, flavoursome writing with some good filmmaking and acting.

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