Minnal Murali Review in one sentence is the new Baahubali of the universe. This movie is daringly different and what Malayalam movie has not attempted before on the lines of Baahubali. It is truly India’s first great Indian superhero movie. And, Tovino Thomas pulls of this character quite brilliantly.
Basil Joseph’s new Malayalam film Minnal Murali, streaming on Netflix, India has finally discovered the superhero formula. It is a story the world will love it as it is of a kind that audiences have not seen yet on screen.
Tovino Thomas Minnal Murali is set in the backdrop of a semi-rural Kerala town. The movie follows Jaison (Tovino Thomas) who gathers superpowers after getting struck by lightning. All is well until Jaison finds his arch-rival in Selvan (Govind Somasundaram), another man in the town who was struck by lightning on the same night.
Director Basil Joseph in Minnal Murali, along with his writers Arun Anirudhan and Justin Mathew, bypass this problem by not attempting to make their superhero story stout-hearted but taking a light-hearted approach to the genre. This approach was previously wintnessed in just once in Indian superhero cinema.
Minnal Murali genuinely stays rooted through its 158-minute runtime. Despite having universally appealing themes for fantasy and superhero genre lovers, the Minnal Murali’s milieu and characters are truly, strictly local, which is the highlight of contemporary Malayalam cinema that has gained countrywide appreciation.
The semi-rural setting, where nobody’s aware of the concept of a superhero, gives Minnal Murali a fable-like quality. This fantasy is heightened by the absence of any clear sign of the time in which the film is set. There are no smartphones or mobile phones, and there is not even any television. Is the film set in as far back as the 1960s or 70s?
Minnal Murali Review: a daringly refreshing , universally appealing super hero film
Whatever it may be, the decision to have a superhero story in a time and space enclosed from all markers of modernity is a superb idea. If this is a world where nobody can comprehend what a superhero is, and nobody has any connection with the world outside, quite naturally, the superhero saga becomes the town’s private, strange little joke.
The writers consistently mine comedy out of this small-town setting, its eccentric characters, and the townspeople suspecting one another of being the costumed crusader.
Tovino Thomas, is Malayalam cinema’s brightest young actors, plays Jaison with a absolutely committed heart and is highly motivated. Guru Somasundaram is brilliant too as the town’s social outcast who goes full Joker by the end.
Thomas’s likability and Somasundaram’s menacing presence collide to produce a solid good-versus-evil story. Baiju Santhosh, as the town’s superintendent of police, and Femina George, as the local karate teacher, are entertaining.
Minnal Murali is a technical triumph at every turn. Sameer Thahir’s cinematography brings a carnivalesque tone to the story. Despite the long runtime, Livingston Mathew’s editing makes the film feel brisk and light.
The songs by composers Shaan Rahman and Sushin Shyam are fabulous, particularly the title track. The special effects, art direction, and production design are on point. Minnal Murali has the capacity to not just spawn a franchise, but perhaps even become an international hit.
Minnal Murali marks the first superhero venture for the Malayalam film industry. It’s (surprisingly) a first for Netflix in India. Minnal Murali is out Friday, December 24 at 1:30pm IST on Netflix worldwide. In India, Minnal Murali is available in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi, and English.