Ever since the trailer of Thirike dropped, we at PinkLungi have been waiting for the D-day, 26th Feb. Today it was finally released on Neestream, and we thought we’d go for a Spoiler-free review as we’re aware a lot of you may not have watched it yet. So read on! Dhayryamaaytu read on!
Thoma and Ismu (a child with Down syndrome) are sent to an orphanage after the death of their parents. One day, a couple adopts Ismu, leaving Thoma stranded in life. Years pass, and Thoma’s unconditional love for Ismu doesn’t change one bit. So when Ismu’s parents tell Thoma of their plans to shift him to Dubai for good, Thoma decides to ‘kidnap’ his brother for a road trip and take him to familiar places, so he retains the connection. Will this trip make all the difference?
Given the plot, the film doesn’t, at any point, try to make the viewer sympathise with Ismu. In fact, the biggest strength of the film is how it portrays a character with Down syndrome as an asset; and how it utilises an actor with Down syndrome as a performer. Actor Gopi Krishnan deserves all the applause for his heartening performance. He delivers his lines with great comic timing in the lighter moments, and he holds his own during the emotional scenes as well.
Portraying brotherly love – and love in general – is not easy. It stands the risk of coming across as sappy and unrealistic. But Thirike has beautifully conceived moments between Thoma and Ismu, and they feel very organic. One of the most poignant moments in Thirike happens when the two brothers, after a long day outdoors, come back home and prepare to sleep. Ismu holds Thoma’s face and says, “This was the best day of my life!” Oh, it hits and it hits hard! This moment is later reused for a compounding effect…okay let it hit you when you watch the film. Watch out for another standout scene by the riverside, where the viewer first witnesses how deeply Ismu loves Thoma back as well.
By turning a disease on its head and making a wholesome family comedy out of it (Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela), George Kora had made a promising writing debut. His sophomore attempt at writing comes with more intricacies: the figurative usage of a family photograph, instances of mirroring (certain scenes from Thoma’s childhood and adulthood bear a resemblance) and realistic dialogues.
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Beyond the prominent plot of brotherhood, Thirike seems to offer a larger take on ‘coming back home’, in every sense of the word. The two pillars of the story are Thoma and Ismu’s mother. For both these parties, Ismu is ‘home’ and a life without Ismu seems meaningless. For Sneha (Thoma’s girlfriend), home equals a feeling of belonging and mutual love. For Ammachi, it is about getting a call from her son Paulose, who went abroad many years ago. It is interesting to note how all these characters yearn – and hope – to find the things they need to ‘build their homes’.
However, the film isn’t without flaws. For a film that kicks off on a poignant note (the childhood flashback), Thirike doesn’t offer an emotional high that the viewer expects at the climax.
Moreover, because a major part of the film happens during the two days of ‘kidnap’, the viewer is torn between the mother who has lost her family and the brother who has found his family. Even at the lightest moments of the film featuring the two brothers at their old home, one is constantly distracted by the events transpiring on the other side.
Also, some characters’ arcs are not completed even as the end credits roll. For instance, it is Sneha’s outburst that gives Thoma a first reality check of the gravity of the situation he’s gotten himself into. But after that pivotal scene, she does not make an appearance in the film! Thoma’s reconciliation with her may have strengthened his arc towards the end….but ultimately it’s all the writer’s prerogative, I guess.
That said, Thirike definitely makes for a good one-time watch at home. It’s got that 90’s charm that satisfies the family audiences, and it’s also got a good technical crew that lifts the film aesthetically and makes it look new-gen (special mention to the soothing background score by Ankit Menon and cinematography by Cherin Paul). And of course, it is a huge step forward in representation of a significant community, and hopefully changes people’s attitude towards this community: from one of sympathy to that of celebration!
So what are you waiting for? Click here to watch Thirike on Neestream!
If you want to know more about the movie, hear it straight from the horse’s mouth in our interview with the Thirike team!
And if you’ve watched Thirike already, tell us what you think of the movie in comments!