‘Thallumaala’ movie review: Tovino Thomas stars in all-out fight fest, with the depth of a social media reel

Except the high of the action sequences and their technical excellence, not much is left to write home about

August 12, 2022 05:45 pm | Updated 05:45 pm IST

A still from ‘Thallumaala’

A still from ‘Thallumaala’ | Photo Credit: Muzik247

A kick to the jaw at the interval and a thorough, mind-numbing rinsing at the climax. This is, in short, what Thallumaala serves to its audience, living up to what the title promises — a long string of fights. One is not always sure where one fight ends and where another begins. Every event in the film, rather every moment in it, either leads to a fight or has something to do with the repercussions of a previous fight.

Director: Khalid Rahman
Cast: Tovino Thomas, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Shine Tom Chacko
Runtime: 140 minutes
Storyline: Wazim, who shot to fame after a fight at his own wedding with a popular vlogger, has to stand up to a cop who tries to win over the vlogger’s heart

One of the few sequences in the film without any fights helps us put a finger on why some parts of this bloody spectacle actually works on screen. Waseem (Tovino Thomas), the protagonist, is arriving in style as the chief guest at a college function, cheered on by adoring fans. A literary figure, who is in the middle of a speech on the wayward ways of the current generation, is clearly not pleased by the welcome that Waseem gets. Oozing contempt, he asks Waseem whether he has made any positive contribution to the society to sit so imperiously on the chief guest's chair.

Waseem does put him down, using his popularity with the young audience, but neither he nor his fans answer the question. For his sole claim to fame is a viral video of a fight at a wedding.... his wedding specifically. There is no deeper answer to that question. It has to do with the nature of fame in the current era. For instance, the inexplicable fame of some reality show contestants makes us wonder if they are living in a parallel world. The film also exists in such a parallel world, where fists land on faces more often than it does in the real world.

Even Waseem's love affair with vlogger Beepathu (Kalyani Priyadarshan) starts with a fight. His friends are also equally prone to using their fists, and when they cross paths with police officer Reji (Shine Tom Chacko) and his friends, things get quite ugly. Thallumaala is unlike any of the other three films that Khalid Rahman has made, and shows glimmers of his craft as a director. For that matter, it is unlike any other film made in the industry till now, except Ajagajantharam, which also had a string of fights. However, it is a world away from the latter in its structure and milieu.

Thallumaala is a film in which the fight choreographer has much more to do than the scriptwriters Muhsin Parari and Ashraf Hamza. Among the many carefully-planned set pieces, the ones which stand out, are an all-out free-for-all inside a theatre with the screen literally going up in flames and a hilarious one inside an SUV. The lack of substance in the narrative shows up in the intervals between these well-crafted sensory explosions. The non-linear style that it follows and the relentless fight-song-fight routine helps in papering over some of these failings, as one hardly gets a breathing space to think.

Yet, when one pauses to think, after all the explosions have ceased, only the high of some of the action sequences and their technical excellence is left and there is nothing more to write home about. Even with all its craft, Thallumaala at best has the depth of a social media reel. However, that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Thallumaala is currently running in theatres

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