New director Girish AD can easily join the new club of directors that simply surprise you with their genuineness.

Thanneer Mathan Dinangal review Engaging coming-of-age story by newcomers
Flix Mollywood Friday, July 26, 2019 - 17:18
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You cannot look away for a moment, something interesting would have been said or done on screen. All 137 minutes of Thanneer Mathan Dinangal pass by you like an express train. A coming of age film that’s as engaging as the lives of teenage kids are, not resting for a moment, in thoughts or deeds. New director Girish AD has either clearly remembered every minute of his +2 days or else thoroughly studied a bunch of kids of that age. Together, he and Dinoy Paulose have written a script that looks like many overheard conversations between teenage students put down on paper.

Mathew Thomas who has charmed us all as the only sensible brother among the four clueless ones in Kumbalangi Nights becomes Jayson, the +2 hero in the film. Anaswara Rajan who had been wonderful as the rebellious daughter in Manju Warrier’s Udaharanam Sujatha plays Keerthy, a girl in Jayson’s new class. A bunch of characters – mostly boys that form Jayson’s friends – are introduced smoothly, the Kochi-rich dialect coming off them most comfortably. The conversations between the boys are so very smooth you enjoy all the little exchanges.

“We have to decide who is going to look at which girl. I am looking at Keerthy.”
“You do that. She keeps picking her nose.”
“That’s fine, it’s for me to love, not put inside a roopakoodu (glass box of reverence). Who are you looking at?”
“Ambika, the girl next door.”
“Haa, no one names a girl Ambika in these times!”

But Jayson has quite a few problems – “dukams” as he describes to his elder brothers – Joyson (Dinoy) and another brother played by Shabareesh Varma. Problem number one is the new Malayalam teacher – Ravi Padmanabhan, played by Vineeth Sreenivasan. Jayson is not getting along with the new ‘Sir’ that everyone else seems to adore, especially the girls in the class, especially Keerthy. 

Vineeth’s character is written as the friendly, easily likeable, joking, laughing, energetic teacher. The kind of character you feel is a little too much, and Vineeth plays that perfectly, hopping about Mohanlal-like in corridors for no reason, bursting into songs unnecessarily and so on.

Jayson’s second problem is of course Keerthy, and winning her love. He keeps asking his friends about his looks – is it good, is it bad, why is Keerthy not falling for him? Both of them are typical schoolboy and schoolgirl, nothing extraordinary about them. You make out Keerthy’s character mostly from her interactions with Jayson. There is no girl gang the film follows. But then there is music – raw and easily likable music by Justin Varghese – to understand them better. The songs are placed very unobtrusively, without disturbing the content edited neatly by Shameer Muhammed.

The sluggish habits of kids these days are also slyly portrayed. There is a scene where Jayson lies on the floor, talking on his mobile phone. Hands and legs spread out, and too lazy even to hold the phone, he has it resting next to his ears, not moving an inch when his brother comes into the room, searching for something. The social media habits – Instagram, Facebook – also appear in conversations, without a lot of stress made on it.

The school itself that forms the main background of the story becomes a beautiful picture among the big ground, the classroom chaos, the nearby pond and hangouts, framed by Jomon T John and Vinod Illampally. Perhaps the only bit of unrealistic portrayal comes towards the end, a climax scene involving a bus, but even that is so engaging and funny, you hardly notice the cinematic element. 

All the kids – Mathew, Anaswara, and all the boys of Jayson’s gang and even their rivals play their roles beautifully. No grownup lines or mannerisms coming from any of them. Neither child-like lines or expressions to make the girl look cute, thankfully. There is also no show of ‘fraanship’. It’s all just a smooth flow of the days passing by, with many funny moments coming out so casually, not just among the students or the happenings at their homes, but also the teachers – Irshad as principal, and the new actors playing other teachers are just wonderful.

Girish AD – also making a guest appearance in the film – can easily join the new club of directors that simply surprise you with their genuineness.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the series/film. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organisation may have with producers or any other members of its cast or crew.

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