The best part about Minnal Murali is its creative smartness. Basil Joseph is not trying to create a film that will offer you back-to-back wow moments that depend on visual effects aided grandeur. Instead, he works on the possibilities of practical effects to create a narrative that remains engaging till the end. Yes, what you get here is pretty much the standard origin superhero story. But the rooted feel of the film and how the villain was created made it a film that looked genuine in terms of ambition.
Set in this village named Kurukkanmoola, the film is about Jaison, a tailor in that village. He was someone who wanted to go to foreign countries and become rich. One Christmas eve, Jaison gets struck by lightning. He was immediately taken to the hospital, and surprisingly his injuries were minimal. As you see in the trailer, Jaison slowly realizes that the lightning has given him superpowers. The story gets its conflict when, SPOILER ALERT, Jaison realizes that he wasn’t the only one with the same ability. Jaison’s efforts to find that guy so that his alter-ego won’t get misused is what we witness in Basil Joseph’s Minnal Murali.
In interviews, it was said that initially, Tovino Thomas was excited about the villain role in this movie. When you finish watching the film, you will realize that it wasn’t that clichéd statement you hear during promotions. For me, the show stealer was Guru Somasundaram. I am not saying this to discredit Tovino Thomas. If you look at the script of Minnal Murali, the serious and empathetic approach is actually towards the villain. Both hero and villain go through parallel moments of happiness, sadness, and surprises. But the writing treats Jaison as an amused youngster and Shibu as this deserving candidate.
Even though it is your standard hero defeats the villain story, the conflict isn’t that black and white here. If you look at the moments in the film that made Shibu the villain, you can clearly see that society’s approach towards him made him a beast. Basil Joseph is someone who is known for creating humor, and here also, he doesn’t disappoint. The track featuring Jaison and his nephew is fun to watch, mainly because of its pop culture references. And the superhero tropes are reimagined to suit the rooted style.
When you imagine a superhero movie from an industry with its limitations in building a vast canvas, a little bit of smartness is required. What I felt admirable about Minnal Murali is this smartness. In most of the scenes with this superhero element, I felt the editing created the effect. There is a moment towards the end where Jaison is supposed to demolish the prison door, and Basil’s tool to create that effect was just a reaction shot. The only area I felt the visual effects as a bit underwhelming was during the bus sequence. The climax portions looked genuinely good, and the imagination was also impressive.
A larger part of the movie is happening in that typical village setting, and Sameer Thahir makes sure that the ease is there in those frames. And when the cinematic shifts happen, you get to see color-saturated frames and low-angle shots. He even plays with the aspect ratio in that fight scene between Minnal Murali and the police. The music was fitting. Even though the new background score from Sushin Shyam was satisfactory, I really missed the teaser BGM, and somewhere I felt the climax of that Bus set piece would have felt better in that teaser background score.
Tovino Thomas is someone who is smooth in doing comedy, action, and emotional bits, and now with that physique, he was convincing as Jaison. In Minnal Murali, we aren’t really exploring Jaison. I hope if sequels happen, it will offer Tovino Thomas a much more challenging role beyond the physical demand. The one guy who will win everyone’s appreciation in this film is Guru Somasundaram. Shibu is a well-written character, and Guru Somasundaram carries the innocence of that character so brilliantly. His gradual transformation to being this unempathetic superhuman was also superb. The elaborate star cast of the movie has veterans like Mamukkoya, P Balachandran, Harishree Ashokan, Baiju Santhosh, etc., to new faces like Vasisht Umesh, Femina George, and more.
As a homegrown superhero, Minnal Murali is a nicely adapted origin story that focuses on the drama in the story rather than its visual scale. And director Basil Joseph makes sure that his signature humor quotient is there in the treatment. In a major stunt sequence, we have Minnal Murali panting to the beats of Kithachethum Kaatte Kothichi Poomkatte. Minnal Murali is a film that you feel like appreciating for its minimalistic yet effective implementation of ideas.
Minnal Murali is a film that you feel like appreciating for its minimalistic yet effective implementation of ideas.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended