Minnal Murali: What to do with superpowers?
I was waiting to watch Minnal Murali from the time I learned about Netflix buying the movie for direct streaming.
The superpower we are going to witness was evident from the title, and it was one of the rare movies that went the extra mile to present a new experience to the Indian audience.The challenge here was How to set up a rooted premise with inspiration from the SuperHero comics?
Honestly put, all our commercial hero-centric movies deem to be superhero stories. Our heroes do everything in power (like being hypocrites, too) to protect the people, lecture about ethics, and fight goons without even getting the dust on shirts or hair.
Disclaimer: I didn’t watch any Marvel movies until now. I compiled my thoughts on this movie as a regular Indian film enthusiast. Please don’t expect anything about comparing this with Hollywood movies.
As we evolve, the stories are gradually changing for good, and these guys made a movie worth watching where two people are blessed (or punished?) with the same power, and their intentions make the difference.
The movies had the plot with special powers typically follow this structure:
- Character finds (or) does something extraordinary.
- Learns about the power.
- Tests it for funny activities to know about its authenticity
- Takes the responsibility of using it for a bigger purpose (or) to make selfish gains
The narration in this movie goes parallel (I recalled Master). We are introduced to Jaison and Shibu, and the story of Shibu moved me.
Jaison learns that he is being cheated in the relationship, and his girlfriend is getting married to a businessman. Thankfully it is shown in a less emotional way. We immediately get connected to Shibu’s story where Usha comes back to her town with her daughter after getting separated from her husband. Shibu has loved Usha from childhood, but she elopes with a lorry driver. Shibu reminds Ram of 96 and is looking for a chance to talk to her and take her along with him.
And then this Minnal takes the regular story to the superpower thing.
The movie has the scenes running simultaneously where Jaison feels low due to his girlfriend ditching him and her father revealing Varkey is not his biological father. At the same time, Shibu is delighted to know Usha is back and finds an opportunity to help her.
Shibu and Jaison are hit by lightning at the same time. Theyfamiliar both start using their powers in contrasting ways — Shibu robs a bank to help Usha (kind of to be with his love), whereas Jaison, with a mask, takes his revenge on the police. See, both are for personal gains, but we tend to love Shibu’s use of power to be selfless (though his intention was there).
It’s about using it for a bigger purpose, which Shibu fails to do, where instead of leaving Dassan, he kills him and burns the entire shop. Dassan confesses that he took Jaison’s money earlier on the same day, and Jaison won’t act like a well-behaved man. Hero has his flaws too :)
Shibu repeatedly misuses his powers, whereas Jaison saves a bus about to fall from a hill due to the fight ensuing between them.
Coming to another parallel, Jaison’s life takes a dramatic turn in his childhood when the show gets burned down, and his father (the only one taking care of him) is killed. On the other hand, Shibu loses his Usha in the fire set ablaze by the locals due to his deeds. Jaison is taught about saving people by his father, while Shibu sets out to avenge Usha’s death by planning to kill the entire village. We also get to know how he avenged his friend’s death during childhood.
There are cats — a black one in Shibu’s house and one in Jaison’s house. Not sure why cats are present here (and in Super Deluxe too)!
I was not convinced of the hero character being a tailor, as in where do we see him using his profession, and was pleasantly surprised how he tracks down Shibu. It was during the chase that he tries to catch Shibu, but this detail had me :)
Setting up and paying off too worked out well, for example, the dysfunctional lock in the police station as shown at the beginning where a criminal asks to let him free so that he can see the celebrity coming to the program. It is also shown during the climax, which proves to the police that Jaison is the one who can take Shibu down.
Tovino Thomas doesn’t look loud throughout the film. He is subtle with his expressions, and it goes well. For example, soon after he tries his power by performing an act of putting back the bottle falling in the hospital, he winks at the pharmacist and acts cool with his eyes.
Guru Somasundaram — I’ve seen him in Aranya Kaandam, Jigarthanda, and now, in this movie, and man, what an actor we have! Except for a couple of scenes where he seems brutal, we can’t stop empathising with him and wish for a happy ending for his story. Awestruck with his performance.
Songs flow into the story, and I didn’t feel they paused for a while. They are well spun into the story. The background score requires our appreciation. The cinematography, too, with the frames provided to Shibu, we are dragged into his world without much effort. All the aspects elevated the movie. I didn’t expect anything related to explaining the reason and logic behind the superpower, and I am pretty satisfied with the film.
I wish we witness such good experiments with touching characters played by great performers in the future.