anoop | Published on Wed 19 Sep 2018 12:52 PM IST
Non-smokers often ask the chain smokers, what satisfaction do they get out of this habit. The answer is often a smirk which has cluelessness writ all over it, though there is an evident attempt in it to belittle the question as well. Regardless, there is no bigger addiction than smoking and that's why there are one too many 'theevandis' around our smoking zones, creepy corners and loos. Ever wonder what it would be like, the minute such a thought hits a smoker hard?
Debutant Fellini T P's Theevandi has Bineesh Damodaran as the protagonist and his connection with cigarette smoke is one of a kind. He has inhaled it right as he stepped into the world, and even in his teens he has taken to the habit like a fish to water, unlike his mates who had to endure their share of coughs. For such a man, it can be hard to even think of a few minutes without the ciggies dancing between his fingers. Certain turn of events lead to the aforementioned thoughts creeping into his smoke-soaked brain. What then?
It can be quite suffocating for non-smokers to watch the deep puffs inhaled by Bineesh and the dense clouds of ashes that are often around him but one can't help, through it all, to notice how Tovino Thomas slips into the character so effortlessly, be it as the teenage smoker or the seasoned addict. Aptly portraying the body language, emotions and desperations of a smoker, he kills it.
The movie is all about his journey and it is interspersed with the rustic tales and politics of a village named Pullinadu, a handful of typical characters you would find in the setting and the local power wars between various factions into which the addiction problem is also sewn in. Debutante Samyukta has done justice to the character of Bineesh's lover girl Devi. Suraj Venjaramoodu, Saiju Kurup and others also do the needful to keep the proceedings entertaining. The movie also has good music and certain dialogues that can win applause from the audience for their honesty, though you have been hearing them around from the millennials for a while. It also deserves credit for taking up a subject that hasn't been explored much in our industry.
There are a handful of sequences that were supposed to evoke a few more stretches of laughter, but evidently fall flat. Not that they hamper the film's decent comedy quotient overall, but if they were chiselled out or improved, Theevandi would have hugely benefitted from it. The proceedings of the second half get a tad slow too, especially because of the predictable efforts and reactions in the phase of facing the change. Also, bringing in the political drama into the core problem works only in parts. One can't help thinking whether focusing more on a novel treatment of the habit-triggered humorous consequences would have made more sense. It's definitely up to the creators, but regardless, bringing in Pullinadu's politics too much into Bineesh's struggles hasn't helped in making his tale better.
Theevandi deserves your time for its comedy, Tovino's performance and some good music, but don't expect, as they say in the film, any 'miracle' in the treatment of its premise.