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Tovino Thomas: “We wanted to make Minnal Murali in 5 languages”

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Tovino Thomas

Tovino Thomas  Is The New Rising Star Of Malayalam Cinema. After  The Release  Of  His Super-Hero  Film Minnal  Murali, Tovino’s Popularity Has Soared Across  All Age  & Language Barriers. He Can Barely Contain His  Excitement  As He Speaks to  Subhash K Jha

Tovino, this  year has been an amazing game-changer  for you. How do look back on the year?

Thank you so much. I had  three releases  Kala, Kaanekkaane and  Minnal Murali. In each one  I got to play  completely different  characters. I am so grateful  to have  played  Shahji in Kala, Alan in Kaanekkaane and now  Jason in Minnal  Murali all during the same year. They are  three completely different  people.

Who would have thought that a super-hero in lungi would  create  a national sensation?

 Ha ha. When my director Basil Joseph and  I set out to make a super-hero film we were very sure we were not competing with the Marvel universe. We wanted to create  our own distinctly  indigenous  universe.  I loved  the  script that Basil came up with.

It is rooted to Kerala but at the same time  immensely universal?

That  was   the idea. We  actually wanted  to make Minnal Murali in 5 languages, Malayalam and  also Tamil , Telugu, Hindi and English. Then Covid happened and  our plans went for a toss. For a  pan-India release we needed a strong Bollywood  distributor. This  was  not available to us. So we decided  to make the  film in Malayalam  only. That proved  to be not so much of a compromise  after  all.

Why do you say that?

Because during the last two years  after the pandemic, Malayalam cinema has all of a sudden  become accessible to a pan-India audience. Earlier  Malayalam  films were  appreciated mainly in Kerala.We did not have the  reach  of, say, Tamil  or Telugu cinema. That changed during the pandemic  when every kind of cinema was  accessible on the OTT platform. Malayalam cinema benefited  immensely from that platform.

By far, India’s best films are made in Kerala. Where do  you see  yourself among the great actors of Malayalam cinema  from  Mohanlal to Jayasurya  to  Fahadh Faasil?

I am proud to be part of that team. I don’t see  these actors as  competition at  all. For me,  they are part of  the same team and I am . We are like the Indian cricket  team. All of us are batting for the same purpose: to bring glory to Malayalam cinema.

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Well  said.  Would you  say  Minnal Murali has taken your career  to the next level?

It is definitely beyond anything  my director Basil and I had imagined. When we set out to make  an original  super-hero film in Malayalam we  were  not even sure of what the final outcome  would be. The fact that Basil and I were  best friends since we worked together in Godha in 2017 certainly helped us to  come up with an idea that was tenable .

Basil told me  he wanted  only you  to play the super-hero as  you were the perfect fit?

Some people believe   that guys with muscles don’t have a sense  of humour. We wanted to prove them wrong.

 It  is believed that  goodlooking people  cannot be  good actors?

Mammootty  Sir  proves  that is not true. We wanted Minnal Murali  to be  a super-hero film with lots  of scope for acting. Which is  not to say that we  didn’t focus on  the  special  effects. We have in fact worked hard on the effects. Visually the film belongs on the big screen.

Speaking of  good acting your co-star Guru Somasundaram on Minnal Murali  is   outstanding?

I have been his fan ever since I saw  him in  Aaranya Kaandam. He is an amazing actor. And for me to  share  screen space with him and to have the audience comparing our performances is a  dream come  true. It is so important to have an inspiring co-star. I don’t think  Minnal  Murali could  have happened without Guru Somasundaram.

Or without  you.  I believe the  next film in the  super-hero series  is  on the way?

(Laughs)  Basil has to come up with  a great idea and the producers have  to greenlight the project. I am  ready to  get back into my  super-hero suit any time.

What do we see you in next?

It’s a film  called Naaradan  directed by Ashiq Abu. I  play a  character  I have never  played before.

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