Oru Thekkan Thallu Case
Onto the next release of the weekend and I have finished watching the new Malayalam film Oru Thekkan Thallu Case which is currently streaming on Netflix. Now everytime that there is a new Malayalam film in town, I am excited for it. But after quite a while I was a little skeptical about <span;>Oru Thekkan Thallu Case. And the reason for it was that I had read its synopsis prior to watching the film and the vibe of the film strongly resonated with the Malayalam cult film Ayyapannum Koshiyum(AK). The conflict between make egoes is now not exactly a fresh subject post AK. There have been films which have tackled this subject more often than not. With films like Driving Licence or even the more recently released Kaduva, this subject is slowly entering the mainstream, more than I would have liked. So with this skepticism I finished watching Oru Thekkan Thallu Case and here are my two cents on the same.
Story & Screenplay
Oru Thekkan Thallu Case follows the story of a conflict between a lighthouse keeper and a gang after the former is suddenly attacked after a stray incident. And all my fears did come true here as the story just reminded me of Ayyapannum Koshiyum in a where strong manner(more so as it also had Biju Menon featuring in both films). The screenplay standing at 150 minutes made for a rather tedious watch and it required multiple sittings from my end to ultimately finish the film.
The first thing that I noticed about the drama was its attention to the world building which was engrossing. Its attention to details was pretty good wherein a picturisque village comprised of an interesting mix of characters which did raise my hopes. Quite honestly the first half was entertaining and it had a tonal element of a comedy which was refreshing in a film like this. And I really wished that this tonality was maintained throughout which would have given a fresh angle to the male ego discussion.
Soon after the stray incident involving the protagonist’s neighbour and a member of the local gang, things begin to pick up with focus being on the ego tussle and one upmanship. So far so good as the gang members plot a full blown attack on the protagonist. In a spectacularly shot sequence, the fight ensures wherein the protagonist is injured physically along with his male ego. And thus begins a fightback to hunt and slap every member of the local member in public.
The tonal shift in the screenplay does go the AK route although the screenplay is different. What begins like a fun game on upmanship soon starts going down after every scene. And the reason for it is the repeated nature of the drama which honestly just takes you around in circles. Had there been an effort in tapping into the psyche of protagonists involving the people around them a little more, it would have been a fascinating watch.
In between, I did find the messaging of the film to be problematic. An instance wherein the protagonist empties a vessel of curry on his wife was atrocious but had the following scenes been of more conviction and self realisation then it would gave been justified. However, thd justification was trivial and passed off as normal which was quite conflicting for me.
A major reason why AK had worked was because it was a power tussle between equals. But here, one of the two protagonists is given more importance than the other, leading to a bit of a mismatch. And so the impact of the drama is diluted as you begin to fidget in your seat while being distracted. The subplots are unnecessary and add crucial minutes to the overall runtime. Had this film being cut down by 30 minutes, it would have definitely been a betrer watch as to elongate the film, you needed some solid written material that just was not there. The final act too was quite underwhelming thereby summing up the screenplay as just about average.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are decently impactful and they do justice to the drama. The music is earthy and beautiful. The BGM is good and does blend well with the drama. The cinematography and art design help make this film a superior product. Director Sreejith N starts off well but soon tapers off in the wake of the drama that begins to spread too thin. He is unable to engage the audience particularly in the second hour thereby making the direction just about average.
The performances are quite good although some of the characters could have been sketched better. Nimisha Sajayan as Vasanthi is splendid and she does make her presence felt. Padmapriya as Rukmini does a good job too but I did find her character conflicted, weighed between her husband and the character of Nimisha as well as Roshan Mathew towards the end. Roshan Mathew as Podiyan is sincere but the limitation of his character never allows him to fully blossom. Biju Menon is brilliant as Ammini and he easily had the best written character here wherein he puts it to full use.
Oru Thekkan Thallu Case does give similar vibes of Ayyappanum Koshiyum yet it punches well below its weight. Available on Netflix.