Thimiram Malayalam Movie Review

Feature Film | UA | Drama | 1h 48min
In Thimiram, writer-director Sivaram Mony portrays a Kerala society in which men and women contribute to a person's chauvinistic character. Mony goes for a simple resolution, and he spoon-feeds the audience through dialogue. Anyhow, by avoiding melodrama and treating the characters well, as well as through some bold stretches of storytelling, Mony makes Thimiram work.
May 17, 2021 By Sreejith Mullappilly

Sivaram Mony's Thimiram starts with a mother serving food to her children, a scene that reminds me of a TEDx Talk from actor Rima Kallingal. The son gets two pieces of fried fish, but her daughter only gets one. The mother explains it by saying that a girl in the family only deserves one fried fish, unlike a boy. Later, we see him as a more aged boy deriving pleasure from watching others doing sex.

The boy grows up to be a 70-year-old Sudhakaran, a pervert with a cataract. Sudhakaran's eyesight issue is a metaphor for his failure to view men and women as equals in society. He despises his daughter-in-law simply because she failed to bring wealth into the family after marriage. He gropes women half his age and misbehaves with them in other ways. He treats a sex worker with disrespect. He believes that women's footwear should be at the bottom of the rack, and men's at the top.

Mony portrays this society where both men and women go easy on sexual perverts like Sudhakaran. The character's wife and son encourage his chauvinistic behavior, a bit like the mother who fed him one fried fish extra. Even the police officer who questions Sudhakaran in a probable case of molestation persuades the complainant to settle the matter as Sudhakaran is an old man. There is an even more shocking scene where a male doctor tells a female nurse to tolerate Sudhakaran in return for overtime pay. In other words, everyone in his life has a part to play in Sudhakaran's chauvinistic character.

Thimiram is a simple, well-written film with competent performances across the board. KK Sudhakaran is a great choice to play the film's creepy, chauvinistic character. Sudhakaran's performance lets us see him as this evil person, and it never makes us sympathize with him. There is also Vishak Nair (who played Kuppi in Aanandam) as Ram, Sudhakaran's son and struggling scriptwriter. Vishak Nair struggles a bit in the film's more significant moments, but he does well to make the character work. Rachana Narayanankutty, Ameya Mathew, and Meera Nair all handle their smaller roles with aplomb.

What is admirable about Thimiram is how it eschews any sort of drama as well as treats its main characters. For instance, Sudhakaran may be an evil individual, but director Mony shows him as a normal person. That makes the rather simplistic resolution in the film work. Anyhow, Mony also spoon-feeds the audience with explanatory dialogue, where a more subtle approach to storytelling may have sufficed. It settles for a more comforting ending, an issue albeit not a major one. You may pay to watch the film on Neestream.

Sreejith Mullappilly