Readers Write In #432: ‘Minnal Murali: Film Review’

Posted on December 27, 2021

3


(by Sundar)

Minnal Murali, directed by Basil Joseph, picks up where most superhero films typically end. The writers (Arun Anirudhan and Justin Mathew) repeatedly up the ante for you to an extent that you go through an unjustifiable feeling of being let down in the climax. Basically, you keep longing for more. And that marks the success of a script. The story is about two losers, in their own right, acquiring a host of superhuman powers overnight and how they go about handling it – who does what, and more importantly who doesn’t do what.

Firstly, it is like a whiff of fresh air to see a superhero story set in an Indian village – for that matter set anywhere other than in New York city. The other beauty of the film is it is set in the pre-mobile period, by which many potential logical irritants have been smartly pre-empted at just one go. Jaison (Tovino Thomas) is a tailor, in love with the sister of a local cop and with a grand dream of migrating to the US to make it big in life. Shibu (Guru Somasundaram, in a career defining performance) is a sort of dim-witted loner, constantly ridiculed no-man, and again with a deep love interest dating back to his school days. And when their love lives take critical turns – Jaison’s girl gets engaged to someone else shattering Jaison, and Shibu’s lady returns to the village as a single mother giving Shibu a glimmer of hope – both of them get stuck by a lighting on a day of a rare astronomical alignment, and end up acquiring an array of super powers. From there on, the situations and the individual moralities of these two men drive the film.

The story is deeply rooted in its two lead characters and is exclusively packed in the village. We are not given any glimpse of how the external world is receiving this news of superheroes in a remote village. But no complaints there as we are taken into uncharted territories anyway. The film holds you by pitting one superhero against the other in interesting, deadly and even funny ways. Minnal Murali is a lot of brainwork; but thankfully not to the point of exhaustion as it does not involve intimidating concepts like multiverses, time travel and string theory. The film is simply enjoyable and absorbing.

Minnal checks the usual boxes of a superhero movie – a strong patriarch/matriarch, fun episodes around the leads realising their super powers, masks and capes, the dear ones who know the secret, cliff rescue scene, and so on. But these inevitable components have been totally localised (unlike in the Krrish series), and the sub-plots have been forged strongly making the whole much bigger, grander and more beautiful.

There is a certain basic standard of performance that is guaranteed in any Malayalam film worth its name. Minnal Muraliis no exception. But Guru Somasundaram and Vasisht (Jaison’s young nephew) stand out. As Minnal Murali’s confidant, child actor Vasisht has delivered an exemplary supporting role throughout the film. The acting prowess of Guru is well-known and Minnal has strived to get the most out of him. It is such an intelligent casting decision. Guru has thoroughly enjoyed the complexities of the character, and it shows on the screen. With Minnal Guru Somasundaram has leaped over to the next orbit. He could well be the next Pasupathy.

Not just the quality of music score and songs (Sushin Shyam and Shaan Rahman), but also the manner in which the songs have been woven into the story is something remarkable; especially the picturisation of the pre-climax number, the furious villagers surrounding Shibu’s home, is unparalleled. It is nothing short of what Roobaroo.. achieved in Rang De Basanti.

With Minnal Murali Basil Joseph seems to have arrived. If not for anything else, I will wait for the sequel.