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Thimiram Malayalam Movie Review: What If Your Father Is A Pervert?

Thimiram(NeeStreem)

Language: Malayalam

Written  &  Directed  by  Shivram Mony

Rating: *** ½

Thimiram Review: Malayalam  cinema continues  to  go from strength to strength. There is  no denying the freshness fecundity and  relevance  of cinematic content from Kerala. Thimiram(meaning Cataract) is  the latest thought provoking  product  from  the state  of plenty.

Thimiram tells the  story  of  70-year old family man Sudhakaran(played brilliantly  by K K Sudhakaran)  who is….there is  no polite way  of putting this…a  sexual pervert and  a predator. The writer-director spares us  none  of  the details of Sudhakaran’s  sleazy  lurid exploits. Early on he  visits a prostitute whom  he insults and underpays and  berates for not  keeping condoms handy. Soon he is  in the neighbouring  grocery store run by a dignified widow,touching her  asking her if she’s free  in the night showing at her gate drunk getting  caught by her son.

Save  your cringes. The  best is yet to come. A  little later  Sudhakaran  is  the  hospital for a cataract  surgery groping the nurse when she is helping him to the bathroom.The  worst is yet to come. In one particularly obnoxious  act of voyeurism Sudhakran listens in  and tries to peep into his  son and daughter-in-law’s bedroom as they have sex.

The  unsettling deeply disturbing portrait  of an old man who is  very obviously  sick in his  head as well as his eyes, begins to feel  like  a manual to  old-age perversion. But here’s where this  masterly study of deprivation scores high marks: the writer-director  allows Sudhakaran to  do what he  enjoys without being overly judgmental.  The backlash, when  it comes, is  so severe  in its impact because it comes from his trusting simple god-fearing family who cannot even begin to  understand how  the patriarch’s mind works.

In one specially harrowing sequence  Sudhakaran’s son Ram(Vishak Nair, serene almost a saint, or maybe  just  a normal  human being as compared with his  father) walks into  his father’s hospital  room to confront  his  father about his aberrant father.Each word of recrimination is  a slap to the  sleazy father and to the hoary practice of patriarchy which allows some  men to think they can behave  with women as they will.

I  loved  the  dramatic tension between Sudhakaran and his daughter-in-law  Vandhana(Meera  Nair) an independent-minded wife who has  given up her dreams  and tolerates her  creepy father-in-law for her husband’s sake and for the sake of their baby. The  old man insults her by refusing to  even talk to her directly. These scenes are  not played with dramatic  props. This  film doesn’t need extraneous support. It is  solidly  honest  powerful and devastating in its  upturning  of the  age-old tradition  whereby parents  are  God. No question about it.

  Significantly   the Thimiram suggests that  patriarchal arrogance is traceable to  one’s childhood . In the way discrimination  between  the two genders  is normalized  by   Sudharakan’s  family in his childhood(as children  his sister is  served less food than he, because, boys need more  nourishment). Curiously, Sudharakan has a change of  heart  at the end. Or is he just  feigning  it because his good son  threatens to  leave him?
We would never know. Thimiram is an important  , powerful piece of work,  thought provoking and  disturbing. It doesn’t mince or  gloss over its protagonist’s ugly urges. Instead  it  brings them  out in the open. And the  film  silently  watches  the protagonist destroy his  own world without deriving any triumph or joy in the tragedy of a  family coming apart at  the seams. Because, well, Dad can’t keep  it in his pants even at an age when his eyes can  no longer see his dirty doings.

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