It is possible to write funny lines without body shaming jokes or making the audience cringe in their seats with crass comments and 'Thumbaa' proves this.

Thumbaa review An enjoyable fantasy for children
Flix Kollywood Friday, June 21, 2019 - 19:04
Worth a watch

Fantasy films for children in Tamil cinema is an under-explored genre. My Dear Kuttichathaan and perhaps Little John can be considered but in the recent past, there haven’t been any.

In films involving wild animals interacting with humans, we've mostly seen the protagonists turning them into pets and removing them from their natural settings. We’ve seen some crazy pets from snakes and monkeys to elephants and somewhere there’s always a spiritual angle involved (Baby Shamili’s Thai Poosam, Durga etc).

In that sense, Thumbaa, which has been shot primarily in forests, is as close as we’ve come to Hollywood films like George of the Jungle or Mowgli. The characters in Thumbaa’s world, however, do not have any greys, they’re either good or bad.

The film has three leads - Umapathy, Hari, and Varsha played by Dheena of Kalakka Povadhu Yaaru fame, Darshan and Keerthi Pandian respectively.

The story too is quite simple. The characters, from different social backgrounds, spend a few days in the forest looking for a tiger on the prowl. Umapathy is a painter who has been invited by the forest department for a painting assignment and Hari, who juggles three jobs daily, is his friend who tags along for the money. The two befriend Varsha, a wildlife photographer and the three of them go on an unintended adventure searching for the tiger (Thumbaa).

Throw in a forest officer who later changes his colours, his assistant (played by Kalaka Povadhu Yaaru fame Bala) with his near perfect comic sense and a couple of not-so-villainy goons, and you have an unexpectedly entertaining story.

It is possible to write funny lines without body shaming jokes or making the audience cringe in their seats with crass comments and Thumbaa proves this. Most importantly, it is KPY Dheena as Umapathy who keeps the film engaging with his spontaneity. Hari’s constant fear of wild animals, however, can get tiring after a point.

Thumbaa also focuses on the human-animal conflict, condensed and presented like how one might explain it to a child. The film, however, falters in giving the intelligence of today’s children too little credit, and feels airbrushed in places.

Towards the end, Thumbaa might seem like a stretch but this is probably because the makers wanted to present children with some animal action. Except for the white goat, every other animal and bird that appears in the film has been created using CGI. While this looks crude in most parts, it does seem like a lot of effort has gone into making it.

The film neatly falls into the fantasy genre and remains just that - a caricature of a simple world where all is well. Thumbaa will appeal to all children, no doubt. And if you want to forget the complexities of adult life for a brief while, you might enjoy this too.

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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