Language : Malayalam
Director : Saheed Arafath
Writers : Syam Pushkaran
Cast : Biju Menon, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Aparna Balamurali, Girish Kulkarni, Vineeth Thattil David
Genre : Crime | Drama
Streaming in Theatres near you.
In Thankam, writer Shyam Pushkaran presents a story that can be classified as a cocktail of genres. It functions simultaneously as a road movie, an emotional drama, and an investigative thriller. And to his credit, Shyam effortlessly blends in all of them to deliver a dark and moody crime drama.
The first aspect that caught my attention in the film was its milieu. While we have seen several movies about gold smuggling, I don’t recollect any that spoke of gold riders and their functioning. This uniqueness, sucks the audience into an untapped world, helping the film to maintain a mysterious vibe right from the beginning. Now, the film travels across 3 states, and yet, most of the scenes and dialogues happen in closed and cramped interiors, creating a lingering sense of dread throughout. Both of these facets play a part in effectively communicating the plight and suffocation of its characters, making us a part of their journey.
The team had spoken about this being their most cinematic outing to date and it’s evident in the way they have incorporated humour into the screenplay. Although Thankam has a persistently depressing undertone, the frequent dialogue humour and the characters’ natural interactions keep it from being overly tragic, which was a possibility. The investigation around the crime and the natural approach it takes during those portions, increases the entertainment quotient and keeps the film lively till the very end, though it shares certain semblance with Mayaanadhi. While I enjoyed the last act of the film, it felt a bit rushed, and I wish they had spent a little more time establishing this crucial reveal. But it’s just a minor glitch in this otherwise satisfying drama.
Saheed Arafath gets a tricky source material for his debut venture but has done great justice to it through the grounded treatment and the sensible handling of genres. Gautham Shankar’s visuals, Kiran Das’s editing, and most importantly Bijibal’s arresting background score, work in tandem to elevate the final output.
As one has come to expect from this team, the casting is spot on. Biju Menon is in his element here playing the soft-hearted and innocent Muthu, and it’s his presence, along with a cast against type Vineeth Thattil David, that keeps the film in the lighter zone even when the situations are ‘not so light’. Vineeth Sreenivasan extends his rich form from Mukundan Unni. Kannan is not a role he has played before but it does have traits of some of his feel-good roles, which makes the journey of his character, a touch sentimental. As the Maharashtra police officer, Girish Kulkarni is fantastic. The actor had previously excelled in such parts in Hindi, but in Thankam, with the help of Shyam’s witty and smart dialogues, he brings a whole new flavour to his performance. Compared to other actors, Aparna Balamurali gets a smaller amount of screen time, but I enjoyed the way she handled those emotional scenes. All the actors who were part of the Maharashtra cop squad also put up great performances.
Overall, Thankam shines for its catchy setting, expert writing, and great performances. It’s a disturbing film when one tracks the journey of its characters, and the conclusion may or may not be satisfying for some, but it’s definitely a film worth watching at the theatres.
Verdict : 5/7 stars