Biju Menon makes the best of the plot, but Thundu fails to entertain

Biju Menon makes the best of the plot, but Thundu fails to entertain

Biju Menon, an actor known for masterfully handling a variety of characters, from plain vindictive to unintentionally funny, does his best in a role he can do little about.
Thundu (Malayalam)(1.5 / 5)

The sharp glances directed at each other, a momentary black and white flashback, and a whole lot of suggestive music give you the impression that the animosity between Baby and Shibin, characters played by Biju Menon and Shine Tom Chacko in Thundu, has deep roots. By the end of the film, you’d still be waiting to understand what on earth their problem is, because the compact explanation towards the end of the film could at best be the answer to ‘why did Tom chase Jerry’. But the bigger question plaguing you would be, what was the point of the whole film?

Directed by Riyas Shereef, the movie is an apparent police comedy revolving around Baby John, a troubled constable. Biju Menon in police uniform may bring back the image of one of his most powerful performances as Koshy, the oppressed man whose aggressiveness is controlled by the uniform he wears, in Ayyappanum Koshiyum. But Baby is a world away from Koshy; even the brief foray into a sad past appears disconnected and obscure in a script that tries to pass off a petty police rivalry as a comedy of errors. Riyas has co-written the script with Kannappan.

Biju Menon, an actor known for masterfully handling a variety of characters, from plain vindictive to unintentionally funny, does his best in a role he can do little about. What is he to do if the first laugh is expected to come from the accident he creates by ramming a rickshaw into a scooter and the earful he gets from the injured man’s mother. You realise that the script is filled with such ‘jokes’ from the funny tone of the music, an element that grabs more attention than any of the lead actors.

Half the time, it looks like Shine Tom Chacko was not on the sets with the others and the director made do with single shots of him grinning vengefully (apparently at Biju Menon). Actors like Gokul, Unnimaya, and Abhiram Radhakrishnan, who have proved their skills before, get their due, but these too are poorly placed, including an unfitting song and dance sequence.

Parallel to the police rivalry is the storyline about ‘thundu’, an informal usage to describe the little scraps of paper that students use to cheat in exams. The film begins with a sequence of a schoolboy sneaking in thundu for his friends and himself, all of it made to look cool with its detailing and even more 'telling' music. How the thundu later adds to the misfortunes of Baby, the father of the errant schoolboy, is yet another comic sequence that does not work.

Lack of good jokes is not really why Thundu fails to hook you. Even the theme – of petty rivalry and revenge – can work wonderfully in a smart script, like it did in Maheshinte Prathikaram. But the writing here is too weak to support any such novel deviations. The writers do bring a few ingredients to work with – the police station setting, the intricacies of police camps, the dog squad, and the camaraderie of erring employees. Unfortunately, all of it ends up as half-baked ideas, with little imagination in translating them on screen.


Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the producers or any other members of its cast and crew.

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