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‘Thanneer Mathan Dinangal’ review: School, as it is

A still from ‘Thanneer Mathan Dinangal’

A still from ‘Thanneer Mathan Dinangal’

Jaison has three things that trouble his mind. For a teenager with many an insecurity, that is more than a handful, and reason enough to push him into despair. Predictably, one of these things has to do with a girl, while the other is about an ongoing tiff with a senior, and the worst one – a teacher who is popular with all the students, but picks on him at the first available opportunity.

The territory might be familiar, but Girish A.D. negotiates it through fresh paths in his debut film Thanneer Mathan Dinangal .

Jaison (Mathew Thomas), a plus two student, yearns to be the studious one in class, but sadly for him, his brain does not keep up with his heart. He falls in love with his classmate Keerthi (Anaswara Rajan), who promptly rejects him. To make it worse, the new Malayalam teacher Ravi Padmanabhan (Vineeth Sreenivasan) has taken a dislike towards him.

College campuses are passé in Malayalam cinema, it would seem, with film makers making a beeline to the school campuses. In the past one year, quite a few films have been set inside schools. Unlike in the past though, these are not films set in schools with a star at the centre of it. Rather, the students themselves hog all the attention and screen time, like here. The subjects that these films tackle might not be heavy, but it is no mean feat to get it right, be it the spontaneity in performances or keeping the interest alive after the initial fun.

It is when we think of recent films like Oru Adaar Love , which had the same setting, that we realise how hard it is to achieve what Girish has done with Thanneer Mathan Dinangal . There is hardly a moment where he loses grip. The humour flows all through, even in the supposed-to-be tense moments towards the end, in one liners and as situational comedy. There is Jaison’s friend from another class, who arrives promptly at the interval, signalling to him with some unique gestures on what to eat at the shop outside school, or the overenthusiastic ‘selectors’ and students who make the school cricket team selection process a hilarious one.

Nostalgia, that much-milked commodity, comes in handy for the makers here, but it is not overdone. Here, the memories of school for these kids are attached with the watermelon juice from the shop next door or the tranquillity and romance of the nutmeg garden. Not a single one of the young actors fails to impress, many of them managing to stand out even in the few scenes that they get. Vineeth’s character reminds one of a memorable one essayed by his father in Mukundetta Sumitra Vilikkunnu .

Thanneer Mathan Dinangal  is a school story which actually shows what kids do at school, which is not something that can be said about many other school films.


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Printable version | May 25, 2022 12:06:24 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/thanneer-mathan-dinangal-review-school-as-it-is/article28724087.ece