Thallumaala was great fun. Its USP is a very quirky editing style where the timelines keep shifting in the first half without giving viewers time to settle and then a very satisfying second half where all timelines are joint brilliantly. The sequence in the second half where the tension keeps brewing between Tovino’s friends gang and Shine Thomas’gang is a particularly enjoyable period in the film. Thallumaala has lot to laugh and also features some of the finest stunts in recent memory. This is where Tovino as the lead actor in the film holds the movie together as his skill to make both comedy and stunts work just gets polished further with each outing.
You saw this few months before in Minnal Murali -a film which got much popularity outisde Kerala but one where Tovino would have benefitted further if it released in theaters. He nails the innocent act in the first half as he keeps bringing smiles on our faces in his combination scenes with his nephew, sister and brother-in-law. He nails the super hero act in the second half with his agility and speed in stunt sequences being a huge plus. At the end, it is perhaps difficult to imagine another lead actor in Malayalam who could have given full justice to Minnal Murali. This again repeats now in Thallumaala.
His expression when Kalyani asks if he changed his hair style is gold. His slang when he speaks on the stage and asks his fans to be calm is near perfect. His act in the second half when he realizes his friends is upto something as he feels stressed between both the gangs shows an actor who wants to keep improving with each outing. But at the end, it is his stunts that gives him a clear edge among other young actors in Malayalam now. He clearly knows the art of fight. He gives this particular part of Cinema his everything and Thallumaala gets a great mileage because it has Tovino in it to do the stunts. Both the theater and marriage sequences are perhaps the finest action scenes to have come out in Malayalam in many years.
Tovino has come a long distance from the time he started. He worked hardly to leave an impact his every small cameo in his initial days and finally got a huge break with one such act in Ennu Ninte Moideen. Its when he sits in a bench with Sreenivasan in Guppy I was personally first impressed by a very capable performer in him. He calmly asks- ” If you wanted me to stop the work and leave , why did not you just tell me?” and it becomes a beautiful scenes that remains with you for long after the film ended. And Mayanadhi had a character with completely different attributes and Tovino slipped in that smoothly as well. The way he delivers the final dialogue in the film to the police officers -” It is fine Sir. I still love her” is one of the reasons I absolutely loved the film.
Years passed by and Tovino kept proving in multiple genres. If there is one flaw right now with Tovino, it is his inability to follow a great outing with immediately good movie selections. At one point this year, he had releases every week and it all flopped badly at boxoffice. Both Dear Friend and Vaashi would have tanked at the boxoffice ( despite being decent outings). But Tovino as a performer doesnt really falter in both films.
Now Thallumaala’s phenomenal success at the boxoffice and the craze around it is something Tovino could smartly capitalize on. History says that a skillset of both comic timing and stunts is something that could take you to greater heights. Tovino has a clear space in Malayalam to occupy if he makes his next moves smartly.