Minnal Murali Malayalam Movie
Basil Joseph's Minnal Murali is the first true-blue superhero film in Malayalam cinema, although there have been movies similar to it, like Athisayan and Little Superman. Still, the movie has a milieu that is familiar to seasoned viewers of Hollywood comic book movies, like Superman and Spider-Man.
The one-line story of the movie is already a bit like the stuff of legends. The main character of Minnal Murali, Tovino Thomas' Jaison, gains superpowers when lightning strikes him. A teacher explains in class that lightning can kill a person, but Jaison escapes unscathed from the incident. Then, the hero gains a set of powers that can change the world.
The arc of the main character here is conventional. Basil Joseph uses a familiar way of storytelling to convey Jaison's stages of transformation from an insecure adult to a superhero. Minal Murali has the look and feel of an origin story. As with Christopher Reeve's Superman, in the early portions of Minnal Murali, we see the hero come to terms with his new powers and hide his identities. As with the Superman movie, the first few action scenes here instills the audience with a feeling of awe. Basil as well as his writers Arun Anirudhan and Justin Mathew use humor to good effect and have a child-like approach to storytelling here.
Watching Minnal Murali took my mind back to the day I saw the 1978 Superman film, my first-time superhero film. Despite the slight datedness of the movie, watching Reeve's Clark Kent run past a train while a child from the vehicle looks at him in awe made me feel wow. Now, my sense of familiarity with the genre does not let me enjoy Minnal Murali as an event picture to the maximum extent. But Basil's storytelling style helps me overcome it to an extent. He uses a set of quirky and colorful characters as well as a quaint village to tell his superhero story.
Have you ever seen a superhero film where a character wears a shirt and lungi and does otherworldly stuff? It is this quaintness that not only makes Minnal Murali a home-grown superhero film but also sets it and its Hollywood predecessors apart. All the nods and references to Spider-Man and Superman here are a case of Basil telling us that Minnal Murali is a desi superhero film. The best thing about the movie is that it knows its roots.
The beauty of Minnal Murali is that it will work for you even if you remove all the superhero or comic book elements. There is a human story here and a fabulous villain. I do not want to talk a lot about the antagonist of the story to avoid spoilers.
Basil uses music director Sushin Shyam and cinematographer Sameer Thahir for the world-building in the movie. He also uses a child artist to convey the simple emotions in this film beautifully. A Biblical reference blends beautifully with the core story of Basil's movie.
As for the performances, Tovino Thomas and Guru Somasundaram excel here. Tovino is quite charming and plays his character in a relatable way for us. The actor looks the part as well as summons the right emotions whenever required. Somasundaram is in cracking form here. His broken Malayalam and riveting screen performance make the movie a compelling experience.
Minnal Murali is not a perfect film, though. I found many of the heroic scenes with Tovino Thomas a bit predictable, but it is largely down to my familiarity with the genre. Some of the sensitive topics in the movie deserve more mature treatment, but that is not a major deal-breaker either. After all, it is no Shakespearean drama with serious content. There is also enough seriousness to make the movie appeal to kids and adults, though. As with any superhero film, you also need to use suspension of disbelief to enjoy the movie to the fullest. My only main issue with the movie is that I could not watch it on the biggest screen possible.
I had a great time watching Minnal Murali. Hats off to Basil Joseph and the writers to bring this super witty original s... Show moreI had a great time watching Minnal Murali. Hats off to Basil Joseph and the writers to bring this super witty original story in a super hero genre.