Director of Theevandi Fellini has recently said in an interview that the movie is a political satire. But after watching it, what I personally felt was that the film doesn’t really fit into that category smoothly. Yes, the satiric approach in the political track of the movie has a key role to play in Theevandi that shows the transformation of its hero. But that angle never really becomes evident in the narrative and I would call Theevandi a fun comedy entertainer that portrays the change of a chain smoker in an engaging way for the audience.
Bineesh Damodaran is our hero. His uncle is a chain smoker and as he grew up he became a chronic smoker. Because of the chain-smoking attitude, people in his village gave him a nickname and that is Theevandi. His addiction towards cigarettes was so much that his girlfriend had to put an end to their relationship after trying hard to change him. The movie’s central conflict unfolds when a political power war’s deciding factor becomes Bineesh’s ability to control his smoking habit for a few days and the movie tells us how Bineesh Damodar faces or rather goes through that challenge.
The movie is written by Vini Vishwa Lal who has previously written movies like Second Show, and Koothara. What I liked about the content was that he is slightly more conscious about being politically correct and there is a sense of lightheartedness to the humor. Both the other films I mentioned above had this misogynistic and rude nature, so this political correctness (even though I don’t believe in the necessity of it) he sort of gave to his writing this time makes it less cringy. What Fellini has managed to do here is to place the story in a more natural ambiance. Theevandi then dives into the challenge aspect which is the driving factor here. Even though it becomes occasionally preachy, there is that nuance of being real in the way characters behave which keeps us interested in the movie.
Bineesh is one more to the category of likable rascals played by Tovino Thomas and looking at the title of his next movie with Madhupal I feel a bit worried about him getting stereotyped. His performance is really nice. The naivety in the adolescent age, the roughness in the aimless phase, the way Bineesh stumbles in front of his girlfriend and her father, the transformation through which he goes through in the last quarter etc. were portrayed very neatly by Tovino. Samyuktha Menon, the heroine was performing effortlessly in most of the scenes until that emotional breakdown scene towards the interval came where her dialogue delivery sort of reduced the expected realness in the drama. Suraj Venjaramood was spot on in his character with a perfect level of sensible intensity. Actor Sudheesh reinvents himself as the uncle of Bineesh and I hope it’s a new beginning for him. Saiju Kurup as the brother in law was fun to watch. Aneesh Gopal handled the humor neatly. Surabhi Lakshmi was memorable in her character. Shwanan and CBI (I don’t know the names of these actors) were also pretty good along with Vijilesh. Shammi Thilakan, Rajesh Sharma, Neena Kurup etc. are the other actors here.
Theevandi is not a loud comedy and that’s the reason why you get the vibe of a fresh treatment here. Fellini manages to blend in the quirkiness of certain moments with the natural flow of the movie. The script also showcases the growth of Bineesh as a smoker in a catchy way. The heroine is the one who puts a ladder on the hero’s house to meet him at night and frankly that was an interesting role reversal. And in the scene where Bineesh slaps her, a portion of the audience clapped making me wonder how we can ask the scriptwriter to be not misogynistic when we as an audience react like a patriarchal society. Like I have already said, political satire side of the movie isn’t that strong. Kailas Menon’s songs have a variety of tunes and they were all catchy too. The frames are fine while some of the intercut in the film was a bit out of sync.
Theevandi was never a boring experience for me. I was curious about how they have managed to incorporate a satire inside a smoker’s story. Even though that part wasn’t completely convincing, Theevandi was a fun film that dealt with the topic of smoking addiction in a less preachy way.
Theevandi was a fun film that dealt with the topic of smoking addiction in a less preachy way.