Onto the final release of the Brahmastra weekend(and I call it that as there were no other major oppositions to the film) and I have just finished watching the Malayalam film Thallumaala streaming on Netflix. And this was that one Malayalam film that I was eagerly awaiting its OTT release as I had deeply regretted not watching the film on the Big Screen. I waa hearing nothing but praises about the film where a section of the audience were also advising me to watch its trailer before venturing into the film. The reason for it being that this was a very different film even for Malayalam cinema. On digging a bit deeper I got to know that the film was directed by Khalid Rahman, the brain behind the outstanding Malayalam film Love. And suddenly I was really excited on what this film had to offer. Finally the film has premiered on Netflix today and I wasted no time in watching it at the first given opportunity at midnight yesterday. So then does Thallumaala manage to provide a crazy ride, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Thallumaala, literally translating into a Ballad of Brawls, follows the story of a protagonist who frequently gets into brawls which continues even on his wedding day leading to a lot of chaos. And the story is exactly that – it jumps from one brawl to another. But the good part is that it doesn’t take itself seriously thereby ensuring one of the craziest movie watching experiences of the year! The screenplay standing at almost 150 minutes may seem slightly long but wait till the movie pulls you into its world of madness!
<span;>The screenplay here is non linear and it often jumps timelines. In other words, there are three distinct timelines which unfold together making you as a viewer wonder as to where the film is headed and which is the current timeline. The timelines in films are usually distinguished by a filter which is coloured and often gives a flavour of the drama. But here and refreshingly so, the timelines are distinguished by the hairstyle of the protagonist which instantly gives a comedic vibe to the film.
The drama definitely demands your attention throughout as it is designed as a flashback within a flashback while jumping timelines. But the element of humour is just so well integrated in the screenplay. The opening shot itself has a dialogue saying that ‘I am not good with storytelling, but I will try’, thereby pulling off a meta reference on the protagonist himself through the non linear drama that follows. You are then introduced to the protagonist and his gang who become friends in the most hilarious brawl ever.
What follows is a set of brawls featuring multiple characters from different group which is absolute madness in a good way. The sequences are filled with chaos and madness which makes for such an entertaining and crazy ride like no other. I for one had a wide smile on my face from the first scene and I still do while penning the review for it. I wasn’t prepared for the film which did make me regret not watching it in a theatre.
The last 30 minutes just pile on the craziness quotient to another level. The entire wedding scene was an intense buildup of a simmering tension until all hell breaks loose first in a hilariously choreographed car sequence and later the wedding sequence. The final act too is a hilarious one making me laugh my guts out. Overall, the screenplay is an absolutely crazy ride filled with madness and chaos. Expertly penned and brilliantly executed!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are witty and absurd in a good way and make for a joke a minute kind of a narrative. The smile on my face(which you will see in my youtube video) is proof of how good the lines were. The music is pretty good here and the Malabari touch is evident in it. The BGM compliments the drama exceptionally. The cinematography and editing are outstanding almost giving you a feel of an Edgar Wright film like Shawn Of The Dead which do have similar transitions. There is a comic book style of narration coupled with a social media angle which absolute makes for banger of a drama. The entire theatre sequence of the camera revolving 360 degrees in a brilliantly executed fight sequence did make for a crazy yet satisfying moment. The production design is outstanding with the use of loud and bright coloyrs which instantly do give you a feel of the drama. Director Khalid Rahman absolutely hits the ball out of the park and how! The direction demanded madness and madness is what you get here. The non linear screenplay filled with flashback within a flashback featuring brawl after brawl required guts and skills to pull it off. And the end product will fill you with a sentiment of pride, pride that you did get an opportunity to watch this gem!
The performances are outstanding. These could so easily have been toxic characters but the playfulness with which they are portrayed makes for a hilarious viewing. Chemban Vinod as Omega Babu shines in a cameo. Noushad Ali as Siyad will tickle your funny bone especially in the final act where he is beaten up. Austin Dan as Rajesh, Gokulan as Rajan and Adhri Joe as Vikas have their moments to shine. Swathi Das Prabhu as Sathaar is hilarious and it was a treat to watch him onscreen. Binu Pappu as David is first rate in what is a relatively sane role as compared to the others. Lukman Lukku as Jamshi contributes so well to the situational humour of the film. He is simply wonderful here. There is something about Shine Tom Chacko which makes him a brilliant actor. As Reji, his sly smile does enough to infuriate people around him even though he genuinely meant no harm. He is splendid and probably one of my personal favourite actors who doesn’t get enough credit for his antics. Kalyani Priyadarshan as Beevi looks pretty and does an exceptional job. Another one of my favourite actors is Tovino Thomas who has a massive screen presence. Yet what amazes me is his choice of roles. If you look at his filmography over 10 months – it started with Minnal Murali and it stands at Thallumaala(with Vaashi and Dear Friend in between). This is the range which he possesses as an actor. He is simply brilliant here and does a phenomenal job.
Thallumaala is the craziest, wackiest and zaniest film of the year which comes with my highest recommendation. Available on Netflix and Highly Recommended.