Tovino Thomas’ Maradona

#Maradona is quite an interesting watch and it only furthers and intensifies my love for Malayalam cinema. Even in a film that falters, there’s so much to ponder, to think about. There’s effort in filmmaking and it’s packed with honest, flawless performances.

#TovinoThomas is pitch-perfect, every muscle in that handsome face reacts, not acts, mind you. It’s great to see a flawed lead, with just hints of likeability. It’s easier to like him when we are oblivious to his past — a character says as much when he comes to know about #Maradona’s shady past — that becomes unintentionally the objective of his journey.

There’s a very uncanny similarity between #Koode and #Maradona, in the way they are both stories of second chances. Every character of Maradona is looking at life after a slip-up. From Asha, the heroine, who has supplementary exams, Maradona’s distant relative who married a Hindu guy, the goons who are chasing Maradona, the old neighbour who lives alone, everybody. With nuggets of ‘wisdom’ from each of these characters, #Maradona’s follows his own story of healing.

It reminded me of a few films #Trapped and in a long-winded way, #KuttrameKadithal, #KuttrameThandanai for example. But #Maradona feels fresh. There are some absolute stand-out moments, and some melodrama that doesn’t fit the rest of he narrative. But the consistency in #Mollywood is still several notches higher, or maybe is it because we know only about the good ones?

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.

Abhiyum Anuvum movie review: This Tovino Thomas-Pia Bajpai film only scratches the surface of a complex story

The makers of Abhiyum Anuvum can be happy on one count for sure. They have definitely marketed the film right. Almost every poster, social media post, and promotional material had the tag ‘a fearless love story’. The story of Anu and Abhi is not a tale we would hear at a social gathering. But the film, despite thriving in the grey area, refuses to get truly dirty. We are made to believe so for the longest of times until an end-film card whitewashes the movie out of its grey shades. One more reason to hate end film cards, I guess. Continue reading “Abhiyum Anuvum movie review: This Tovino Thomas-Pia Bajpai film only scratches the surface of a complex story”

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