Minnal Murali Review: This local superhero is a winner!
Amidst humungous hype, ‘Minnal Murali’ has dropped in on Netflix. Directed by Basil Joseph, the film stars Tovino Thomas and Guru Somasundaram as the leads.
‘Minnal Murali’ is set in the 90s in a fictional village named Kurukkanmoola. The narrative primarily revolves around the main two leads — Jaison played by Tovino Thomas and Guru Somasundaram’s Shibu. Jaison is a tailor who is pursing American dreams with his girlfriend. He is shattered when she ditches him for a better proposal. Parallely, there’s Shibu, a slightly eccentric person who is hopelessly in love with Usha, his childhood schoolmate. Even after her failed marriage with a lorry driver, Shibu still holds the same platonic love for Usha.
On the fateful night of a rare astronomical event, Jaison and Shibu get struck by powerful lightnings. Both of them gain super powers, but not of the same kid. Jaison becomes extremely strong and fast, so much so that he can break a concrete wall just with a small punch. Shibu meanwhile is able to control all the things around him and use it to his benefit. Both these ‘superheroes’ are unaware of each other’s existence till they cross paths. From there, it is the familiar-but-interesting battle between the ‘good and the bad’
Of the two, it is Guru Somasundaram who gets a meaty role with a proper character arc. He puts such a wonderful performance that he manages to make the viewer feel for him despite the character’s heinousness. Though Tovino doesn’t have the same depth in character, he makes up for it with his charm and superb comic timing. It is a delight to watch him in the scenes where he realizes his various powers. Thanks to the intensity in his performance and his chiselled physique, the actor is totally convincing as the local superhero.
Among the supporting cast, it is the young Vasisht Umesh as Jasion’s intelligent nephew who impresses the most. It is a role normally written for some comedy actor, who can play the hero’s sidekick. But here, the makers have smartly cast a kid, who has pulled off an excellent job. The late P Balachandran, Baiju, Harisree Ashokan and Aju Varghese are the other notable performers.
‘Minnal Murali’ turns into a proper superhero battle in the final showdown, which is a set in the backdrop of a church festival. It is not a VFX extravaganza. The CG works is minimal and neatly done. The action pieces are goosebumps-inducing and one cannot help but think of a theatre experience.
What works majroly for ‘Minnal Murali’ is how Basil Joseph along with his writers Arun Anirudhan and Justin Mathew have subverted the familiar Western superhero tropes to place it in a local setting. Powered by fantastic performances from Guru Somasundaram and Tovino Thomas, the film hits almost all the right notes. It certainly has all the potential to become Malayalam’s own supehero franchise.