There are several films and web series that have tried their hand at exposing the dirty side of Godmen. In Mollywood, too, we have seen several projects showing us how these Godmen and their so-called powers are all a hoax. The 2017 Malayalam film Tiyaan tried to deal with this genre. However, the film wasn’t well-received by the audience and critics. Yet, I still believe that this film has a strong social message and content that viewers have failed to unearth. Let me explain.
Premise of Tiyaan
The film tells us about Pattabhiraman Giri (Indrajith), a descendant of Adi Shankaracharya. He lives in a house constructed by his ancestors. It has a well that supplies water throughout the year for the villagers. With the entry of Mahashay Bhagavan (Murali Gopy), who wants to build his ashram in the locality of Giri’s house, he demands Giri to vacate the house and give it as a donation for the trust. When Giri refuses to give in to the demands of the Godman, there erupts a conflict between Giri and Mahashay Bhagavan’s devotees.
In comes a mysterious man (Prithviraj), who helps Giri fight the evil forces. Who is this mysterious man? Who is Mahashay Bhagavan? How does the mysterious man help Giri fight Mahashay Bhagavan?
Note: Spoilers ahead
The box office performance of this film was forgettable. It was is one of those Malayalam films that remained unnoticed. However, I personally found it to be a great one to watch. Here’s why!
Script by Murali Gopy
Murali Gopy’s scriptwriting abilities is really undervalued. He has such immense potential to craft a screenplay with extremely relevant social commentary. He has done the same with all his films, including Lucifer that felt like his desperate attempt to make a commercial flick.
With Tiyaan, he focuses on Godmen and their dirty practices. In Tiyaan’s script, Murali Gopy has made use of Malayalam, Hindi and Sanskrit languages as a mode of communication between characters. Though the screenplay may feel dragged and stretched out (it’s a three-hour movie), it stays with the viewers if they are willing to immerse and surrender themselves to it. The script of Tiyaan is one of the biggest factors that made me love the project.
Visual Scale of Tiyaan
The second factor which makes this film remarkable is the scale at which the project is mounted and its efficient making. Helming a film that has such an intense theme at its core isn’t an easy job. However, the director Jiyen Krishnakumar has done a splendid job in making the film look visually appealing. The visual aesthetics is enhanced because of the large scale production the film received. With a budget of close to 20 crores, there was a great usage of VFX, lavish sets and the inclusion of some highly talented artists from the Malayalam film industry.
The film expands to three hours because of the detailed exploration of the main theme – BLING FAITH. Many may feel that the inclusion of a back story doesn’t really help the main theme. However, it helps lay the foundation of Mahashay Bhagavan’s true colours. At times, the film takes a non-linear narrative style to avoid boredom.
The writing also has many dialogues that are preachy about religion and blind faith. However, at the core, there is a strong message about how we should be against such beliefs that are hampered by fake Godmen. The brilliant usage of different languages to give the content an authentic feel is superb, however, it didn’t really pay off well for the viewers.
With that said, I believe that Tiyaan is indeed a supreme product. It definitely isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are willing to surrender yourself to the craft and have the patience to view films in their flow, this film might just intrigue you. Personally speaking, I found Tiyaan to be a great watch. I believe it to be a film with a solid script, along with some exquisite technical work. The messaging is great, though it may feel to be an exaggerated lecture on faith, myth and beliefs. The manner in which Murali Gopy develops and talks about the theme is phenomenal and is something that definitely deserves a second chance.