Kerala

Warmth and sensitivity in equal measure

We first see Sreenivasan teaching his students the hero archetype. He stands there, a man with thinning hairline and timid demeanour, talking about the traits that make the textbook definition of ‘nayakan’.

And with each frame of Thamasha we penetrate his quiet and reticent bubble, a two-hour encounter in which he captures the empathy of the entire audience.

Utterly earnest and bereft of any enforced charm, Ashraf Hamza’s Tamasha is the kind of film that creeps into your conscience and clings there for its immense sensitivity. It’s the story of Sreenivasan, a 31-year-old college lecturer with plain looks and unassertive personality, a bachelor on the lookout for a bride.

Rejected multiple times because of his ‘bald’ profile, he decides to find his woman with the help of friend and confidante, the college peon played by Navaz Vallikunnu. 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 fits the bill

Vinay Forrt brings in an incredible authenticity to the character of Sreenivasan while displaying a deft command over his body language. Through drooping shoulders and an under-confident gait, the actor imparts a flawless vulnerability to his role.

He goes beyond the mandate of the script in portraying a man trying to come out of his shell, often allowing Sreeni’s stricken silence to speak.

Chinnu Chandni is all condensed charm, slipping into her role with a serene swiftness and poise.

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 successfully 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.

Tamasha 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 had explored the theme of body shaming, Tamasha drives home its message more loud and clear. Sreenivasn is never a caricature but a guy so real and relatable. It is definitely a movie with its heart in the right place, and also an earnest attempt to evoke some introspection.

Navamy Sudhish

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 4:16:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/warmth-and-sensitivity-in-equal-measure/article27699203.ece

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