Malayalam Film Thirike Is Moving In Spurts

 Thirike(NeeStream)

Starring  George  Kora, Gopikrishna  Verma

Directed  by  George Kora, Sam Xavier

Rating: ** ½

 Maybe I expected  too much. From NeeStream  which gave us  the great The Great  Indian Kitchen, comes  a film which makes all the right moves to  win our hearts but somehow fails to create  the  expected impact.Not that the film lacks visual and emotional  amplitude.

The story   of two brothers Thoma(George Cora) and   Sebu(Gopikrishna Verma)  who suffers  from the Down  Syndrome,  has  plenty  of  those heartwarming  moments  that  make a emotionally satisfying family drama. However  it all seems  a little  thin at  the edges and crusty at  the centre. The emotional interludes seem forced and manipulative. Though beautifully  framed in idyllic  rural Kerala, the  bond between the two  brothers  never feels organic.

A major part  of  the  film’s failing  is  George Cora’s performance which bleeds  blitheness uncontrollably into every scene. He is  forever flirting, bantering, joking, faffing  and his life seems to be  on a perpetual high-speed dial. Thoma  is clearly not one to take   his responsibilities as  sibling to  the specially abled Sebu seriously.

Also Thoma’s   idea of  “kidnapping” Sebu and whisking him away  to their parental  home  in their native village is  so far-fetched as  to seem like  a cheesy scriptural  concoction. The first place that Sebu’s adoptive parents (Shanti Krishna, Gopal Mangat) would look for him  is their childhood  home.

Everything is way too conveniently planted into the plot . Gradually the whole experience , though pleasant , begins to feel  like a leftover from Rain Man except that there are no Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman here. George Cora and Gopalkrishna Verma(the latter is a real-life  Down Syndrome afflicted) are  just adequate  with Cora  (who co-writes and co-directs)  making so many  faces  constantly to remind us that this a happy film about  an inherently  unhappy circumstance,that he is borderline annoying.

I don’t think the mood of  exaggerated  euphoria works here. This is a film that demanded a more serious,thoughtful and reflective  mood. It feels way too light and superficial. There is a specially-amiable  episode  in the village where the two brothers are taken in a by  lonely aunt(Sarasa Balussery,so delightful in Sudani From  Nigeria) whose son has  deserted her.

The absence of  seriousness, probably  assumed  to  keep the proceedings upbeat, affects the film’s  eco-system.It’s  wonderful to laugh away at  life’s troubles.  But not at the of cost making the  journey look compromised and  undignified.

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