Thallumala- Battle of Ballads in the literal sense!
Cast: Tovino Thomas, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Shinetom Chacko
It has been a while since Malayalam cinema witnessed the madness and enthusiasm that Thallumala brings on screen. Thallumala is the ballad of brawls in every literal sense. Summarizing the plot of the film can be a bit tricky as this is a film that sells on the visual extravaganza. Khalid Rahman refuses to be molded by a specific genre. He keeps on bringing innovation and presents his experiments in a way that we are left stunned. Thallumala is just the latest addition to the list for Khalid Rahman.
Nestled in the backdrop of northern Kerala, Thallumala mainly focuses on the lead character Wazim and how he and his friends lock horns with another gang which gets in the way of Wazim’s love life. The first twenty minutes of Thallumala is packed with so many animated transitions and graphics that it takes a while for us to settle into the rhythm of the film. All the fight sequences have been shot uniquely, which catches our interest all along. Thallumala uses a non-linear format for storytelling. And I must admit, to pull it off without creating much confusion among the audience requires proper planning and vision which Khalid Rahman and his team seem to have done.
The visual synergy that Thallumala offers is not the only USP of the film. The power-packed music by Vishnu Vijay could not have complemented the scenes better. The energy created with this mix is too hard to resist. Sharp editing and an eye for detailing in the making of the film are something that needs to mention here. The accuracy with which all the actors have pulled off the Northern Kerala accent (even Kalyani Priyadarshan!) is amazing.
Wazim and his friends (played by Adhri Joe, Lukman Avaran, and Swathi Das) are testosterone-fueled men who became friends by getting into brawls in the first place. Why they get triggered so fast is never clear. I don’t want to stereotype but seems like a gender-related phenomenon to me. Tovino pulls off Wazim brilliantly. A guy who never knew how to dance masters the craft and gives a surprising dancing debut. Shine Tom Chacko, who plays Reji, as always makes us hate and like him at the same time. Sometimes it felt like his usual self, resonating with the same frequency that we get from his interviews and off-screen appearances. Kalyani Priyadarshan does fit the part as Beepathu. She gives the “born and brought up in Dubai” reflection to the character adding considerable swag and attitude to her character. While all the actors who play Wazim’s friends shine, Lukeman Avaran who plays Jamshi is able to create a space for himself in the film.
There are several songs in Thallumala, every song refreshing and enticing. But it does get to a point where too many songs play back to back and get boring. “Ndaki Pattu”, which marks the return of Wazim from Dubai felt forced in the sequence. As mentioned earlier, with so many visual synergy and transitions, we initially take some time to settle into the film.
Thallumala is a film that is unconventional in its picturization but full-on mass in its feel.