‘Thamaasha’ review: a simple, sensitive take on bodyshaming

A scene from ‘Thamasha’

A scene from ‘Thamasha’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement


Ashraf Hamza's Thamaasha is the kind of film that creeps into your conscience and stays there for its immense sensitivity

We first see Sreenivasan (Vinay Forrt) teaching his students the hero archetype. He stands there, a man with thinning hairline and timid demeanour, talking about the traits of a textbook 'nayakan'. And with each frame of Thamaasha we penetrate his quiet and reticent bubble, a two-hour encounter in which he captures the empathy of the entire audience. He takes simplicity to a new high in the journey to find genuine confidence, kindness, understanding and integrity.

  • Director: Ashraf Hamza
  • Cast: Vinay Forrt, Chinnu Chandni, Navas Vallikkunnu
  • Run time : 120 minutes

Utterly earnest and bereft of any forced charm, Ashraf Hamza's Thamaasha is the kind of film that creeps into your conscience and stays there for its immense sensitivity. It is the story of Sreenivasan, a 31-year-old college lecturer with plain looks and an unassertive personality who is on lookout for a bride. Rejected multiple times because of his bald-headed profile, he decides to find a wife with the help of his friend Hamza. He tries to woo a colleague, pursue an over-zealous acquaintance and then meets a girl who sends him on a ruminative date with self.

Vinay Fortt brings in incredible authenticity to the character of Sreenivasan, all the while displaying deft command over his body language. Through drooping shoulders and an under-confident gait, the actor imparts a flawless vulnerability to his role. His nuanced countenance effectively translates into the character's loneliness, pain, insecurities and frustrations. He goes beyond the mandate of the script while portraying a man trying to come out of his shell, often allowing Sreenivasan’s stricken silence to speak. Chinnu Chandni is all condensed charm, slipping into her role with serene swiftness and poise. While a lesser actor could have made her character into an over-effervescent cliche, she breathes a rare originality into it. Navas Vallikkunnu is another natural, while Divyaprabha and Grace Antony also deliver neat performances.


Despite the plot offering umpteen opportunities for crass comedy and drama, the film refrains from all routine digressions, filling its frames with warmth and sensitivity. And the director harnesses the comic candour of the script into an effective cinematic experience without succumbing to any temptations. Food becomes a recurring motif and music a wand that spreads enchantment. Rex Vijayan concocts no customary fare, but a feature so integral and organic that you can’t rip it off the narrative. Thamaasha is set in Ponnani and Sameer Tahir filters through his lens the true essence of the backdrop while sharpening the tone and texture of the film.

Compared to many other films in Malayalam that have explored body shaming, Thamaasha drives home its message in a much more loud and clear manner. Sreenivasan, despite his flaws and awkwardness, is never a caricature but a guy so real and relatable. It's definitely a movie with its heart in the right place, and also an earnest attempt to evoke some introspection.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 4:34:24 PM |

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