Star Cast: Biju Menon, Vineeth Srinivasan, Aparna Balamurali, Girish Kulkarni, and ensemble.
Director: Saheed Arafath and Prinish Prabhakaran.
What’s Good: how unique the plot is. It mends and reshapes the structure of a staple investigative thriller in something that leads up to a very different climax.
What’s Bad: While being very mindful of creating a movie way different than what is already available, the balance between two parallel narratives dwindles
Loo Break: Now that the movie is available on OTT this shouldn’t be a question but the film is worth letting nature wait for.
Watch or Not?: You should definitely give this one a shot because it is an experiment in the correct direction with a few bumps that can be ignored.
Language: Malayalam (with subtitles).
Available On: Amazon Prime Video.
Runtime: 145 Minutes.
Two gold agents also best friends from Thrissur, Kerala are involved in the illegal smuggling of gold. On one of the trips to Mumbai to smuggle, one of the two friends is found dead in his hotel room hanging to the ceiling. An investigation begins as Mumbai police travels to Kerala to find the killer. And the world is turned upside down.
Thankam Movie Review: Script Analysis
The trick around investigative drama is that it invites the audience into the screen and makes them investigate too. The blueprint somehow is very limited as there are not many devices in a staple set up to hide the killer or culprit till the very end. The blueprint time and again is broken by Filmmakers who try and create a dent in the genre. Be it Meghna Gulzar’s nerve-wracking Talvar or Roshan Andrews Mumbai Police, they kind of redefined the way these stories were always told. Enters Thankam which establishes itself as a film about bonds and relationships but soon unravels the core.
Written by Syam Pushkaran, Thankam is unlike any other of its genre. There are two pals who are together in thick and thin and even the crimes. Some families blindly trust the calibre of their men and are somewhere very dependent on them. And above all of them is a syndicate that is kind of using all of them to earn big. Syam writes the story in kind of levels as he goes on climbing one after the another in his introduction and then blends them into each other before he finally reveals the doom day.
There is no character as a perspective of the viewer but he expects the gaze to be one that is lurking around these men who aren’t bad people but are doing a very questionable job. So when the dooms day arrives and an investigation is laid, it is here that the writing gets the chance to introduce every character and their traits through questioning them and their dynamics with the one who is now dead. It is clever because the film never unwraps things completely because it knows the climax will only make sense then. Everything looks too good to be true but nothing otherwise makes sense even because you aren’t told enough while you thought you knew everything. It requires a whole lot of talent and effort to build an universe so complex.
The writing even travels through Mumbai and back in Kerala to merge these two landscape using a police officer and his Marathi-speaking team as a representation. There is an effort in using the language spoken by the character and not force the language of the land the movie is set in. Through the police officer, you understand the enmity between the Keralites and Tamil folks, their politics, and how even the system is at loggerheads internally.
The movie does lose its grip when it tries to balance the investigation and the personal lives of these characters. While it gives the latter very little time post it gets into the main act, the void is indeed felt.
Thankam Movie Review: Star Performance
Biju Menon knows what he is expected to do and delivers that with so much ease. His character is kind of the motivation for everyone around him to do wrong, but he also has a heart that thinks of the same people he has enrolled in his illegal business. The actor is brilliant in conveying it all.
Vineeth Srinivasan gets to be Kannan, a maze of humans who is soft-spoken but brutal when angry, loving, and caring, and also very confident to own the show. He makes the character so interesting and mysterious that even in his absence his face is always with you. The actor performs so well that the makers don’t use the flashback technique to keep the audience reminded of his presence.
Girish Kulkarni is such a treat here because he is as clueless about the landscape as a non-Malayalam-speaking viewer is. He kind of becomes their voice and makes their way in this world. As a cop, he is pretty complex himself. The act is so relatable, unlike the films where the police possess some superpower to beat a hundred men together. Here the culprit beats the pulp out of the Inspected itself.
Aparna Balamurali is as effortless as she can be but the narrative limits her part and doesn’t blet her flourish more. So when in the end she gets a very intense sequence, it doesn’t land as it should.
Thankam Movie Review: Direction, Music
Co-directors Saheed Arafath and Prinish Prabhakara build this world very nicely. They manage to keep the layering of the script intact in the visual translation and that must have been a tough task. The director is supported by very Swift camera work that is mostly handheld when on the streets investigating. The editing must also be credited to make the vibe the entire product manages to create.
Thankam Movie Review: The Last Word
Thankam invites its viewer to join the investigation but never let them know everything cleverly. Give it a try and see if you can vibe.
Thankam releases on 26th January, 2023.
Share with us your experience of watching Thankam.
For more recommendations, read our Waltair Veerayya Movie Review here.
Must Read: Kaapa Movie Review: Prithviraj Sukumaran’s Unique Gangster Drama Is Brilliant In Flashbacks But Equally Predictable In Present
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