Thallumaala Malayalam Movie
Some people fight to exact revenge on somebody, but others do it for money. The characters in Khalid Rahman's Thallumaala fight mainly to vent their feelings (the title means a 'chain of fights'). In one seemingly less-important scene, two characters in the film are lying on the floor face-up after a fight and one of them tells the other, "I've had enough for the day, what about you?" It is a hilarious scene where the action serves as an extension of their character and a minor explanation for the goings-on.
Speaking of explanations, Thallumaala is not your standard action film where everything is explained away easily. The film is treated in such a way that it will take a while for you to get a hang of it due to its narration style. The movie has a loose structure where we see two or more characters fight seemingly randomly. Each scene that follows another fight sequence sort of serves as an extension or explanation of what has been happening until that point. Editor Nishadh Yusuf and director Khalid have structured the film in a way that avoids straightforward exposition or explanations. Despite that, keep watching the film patiently as there is a point where the makers explain what the movie is all about and that too with sequences that do justice to the title.
The past, present and future are mixed so cleverly here, and you do not always know where one timeline ends and the other begins. In a usual film, that kind of treatment would only create room for further confusion, but it keeps adding to the fun here. Thallumaala is also a film that uses ironies so well. For instance, there is a reason why the groom wears a specific form of outfit for his wedding day. Further, the idea of a movie theater or a wedding venue, setting the stage for a brawl is so out of the box. Either location is supposed to be a peaceful and entertaining one, but it is hardly the case here.
What makes Thallumaala such an enjoyable experience are the performances and the making. The makers of the film draw a clear distinction between fights and brawls with the use of visuals and sounds. A fight between a couple of people should make some sense, but a brawl does not always have to do so. The cinematography and the overall treatment draw a line between both quite well.
Besides, this is a virtuoso piece of filmmaking that reminds me of movies such as Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, Tag, Delhi Belly, and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.
Few actors beat Shine Tom Chacko when it comes to delivering comeback lines and deadpan expressions. Shine is a hoot in Thallumaala. Tovino Thomas does full justice to his role of a freak guy with a Malappuram accent that does not feel artificial. Whenever the film goes a tad over the top with a bit too much action, Lukman Avaran and Adhri Joe offer enough comic relief.
Thallumaala does not always hit the mark, though. There are several songs in the movie that try to complement the eccentric universe of the freak dudes from Malappuram, but most of the tracks only add to its length. There is also a Kalyani Priyadarshan performance that seems off. Kalyani does not sound eccentric and energetic enough for the universe that Khalid has built for his film and does not speak like a local girl, either. The pacing of the film dips a bit when the focus changes from all action to a bit of drama.
Notwithstanding those minor issues, Thallumaala is a zany film that works best when it is inventive, which is roughly 90% of the time. Watch it with an open mind and the attitude of a five-year-old and come back beaming.