‘Thallumala’ (ballad of brawl) is about a series of fights, including the friendships that are created through these fights. Starring Tovino Thomas and Kalyani Priyadarshan, the film directed by Khalid Rahman and produced by Aashiq Usman is different in texture, style, and packaging. Even during the film’s promotions, the youngsters were thronging all the venues. After Minnal Murali, Tovino’s Manavalan Wasim seems to have emerged as a winner among the audience. Tovino Thomas talks to Manorama online.
What is 'Thallumala'?
'Thallumala' is a celebration of fights. It celebrates the spirit of youth! The film will be a colourful, out-and-out entertainer. And of course, I am playing a never-before character. It was a story that really excited me. I think there is enough in the film to excite the younger generation. The film employs a non-linear narrative, unlike the traditional storytelling style usually seen in our films.
Tell us about the behind-the-scenes friendship
Days before the shoot, we had all become good friends. We stayed in a rented flat and that includes Khalid Rahman, me, Mushin, Lukman, and other principal actors. So the story, screenplay, and music were finalized through various discussions. A lot of rehearsals were there. So there was no question of unfamiliarity on the sets. I think the audience will be able to witness the magic and strength of such a friendly collaboration.
Do you take any conscious efforts to avoid repetitions in your performances? Like Minnal Murali for instance?
Yes. I deliberately try to avoid working in such films. I was approached for a lot of similar films after ‘Minnal Murali’. The first thing they would tell me was that they had a big-budget film in mind. It isn’t the budget that excites me. I am interested in doing films that satisfy the actor in me as well as films that would be liked and appreciated by the audience. A film’s budget will never affect its success or failure. I am also running a production house. So I am interested in doing films that I love.
In Bollywood, top actors are doing web series. But we don’t see that in Malayalam.
That is for the OTT to decide. Now we don’t have many web series projects in Malayalam. But then we can’t predict what happens tomorrow. Maybe they are making English web series with Bollywood stars keeping an eye on the pan-Indian market. When you make a big budget web series it isn’t profitable that the viewers should be restricted to Kerala. But then we saw the Spanish web series 'Money Heist' in English. If we follow the same format and make a series in Malayalam and dub it in other languages, that will be awesome.
After Covid, many people are finding it difficult to follow rigid fitness programmes. As someone who has incorporated fitness into your daily routine, what’s your take?
Thankfully I am still alive despite my workouts. It might not be the workout that would be the issue. Maybe the problem is in exerting ourselves physically when we have some medical condition. I am not doing excess workouts. That’s a misconception. I am merely trying to tweak myself physically for a character. Sometimes it might be better for my character if I am not doing any workouts.
For usual workouts, you don’t need to overstrain yourself. I think the best way to alter your body is by making changes to your diet. I refuse to accept the theory that properly supervised workouts are detrimental to your health.
Your next film is Vaikom Muhammed Basheer’s ‘Neela Velicham.’
I consider myself fortunate to play a role in a Vaikom Muhammed Basheer story. It is a character that was loved by the Malayalees. And of course, there is the added joy of collaborating with Aashiq Abu again. He is extremely comfortable to work with.