‘Jamshi starts the series of blows in 'Thallumala'. His character, who goes on to become Manavalan Vasi’s best friend after their initial slap scene, has caught the attention of all. Lukman Avaran, who portrays Jamshi, was outstanding, especially in the action sequences, and gave perfect support to Vasi played by Tovino Thomas.
Lukman, who was equally impressive in 'Operation Java' and 'Unda', had such a wonderful outing in 'Thallumala' that he has his legion of fan following among Malayalis. Lukman talks to Manorama Online. “Inde kanakku theerthittu mathi bakki okke (Settle my dues first…)” he says, like Jamshi.
Muhsin had this story in his mind for the past 6 years
Muhsin had the thread for Thallumala from the time he was doing 'Sudani from Nigeria'. He is one of my close friends. I have heard him talk about this story then. Many other stories and cinemas came up thereafter.
It was later that Muhsin spoke about this thread to Khalid Rahman. Then, everything fell in place quickly. Rahman agreed to do the movie. Jimshi took over the cinematography and Ashiq Usman agreed to produce the film.
In its earlier version, the story was visualised differently. But according to changes in time and context, the theme went through several modifications. Muhsin had the concept of a social media influencer then itself. When the film finally began production, I was also brought in.
Malayalis embraced Thallumala
The hero of this movie is not the story, but the name. Thallumala was the title that came up at the beginning itself. “This story is a structure that I have created. Things are falling into this framework to do justice to the name,” Muhsin had said.
It is an experimental movie. Though we have seen many movies with music and stunts, Thallumala's narrative is unique. Not many have done such a movie in Malayalam. We were apprehensive about its reception. But Khalid Rahman is the master craftsman. His specialty is that however bad the fall is, there won’t be ‘injuries’. We moved forward trusting Rahman fully.
Our calculations did not go wrong. Even after one week since the release, shows are running houseful. Malayalis have embraced our film.
The family audience has accepted the film made for youths
'Thallumala' is a film that was made keeping youths in mind. That did work as the film was widely accepted by the target audience. After the initial week, the family audience thronged theatres. When we went for theatre visits in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Alappuzha, we saw mostly families watching the movie and enjoying it. They clapped, danced, and celebrated the movie. Many might have remembered their time in college. The film has been able to rekindle their youthfulness in them. We are happy that the movie could take them all back into their youth.
Getting smacked happily for the first time
The whole movie is about blows. Supreme Sundar Master did the stunt choreography. We were given a lot of practice just for the fights. Many blows were real with physical contact. Some did hurt well. But that pain was sweet. It was like getting whacked for a bigger goal. Nothing can be achieved without a bit of pain, right? Rahman was particular that the slaps and smacks should seem real.
We knew we were in good hands, and director Khalid Rahman had the confidence. We just needed to reach the location. We had the confidence that the rest would be taken care of by Rahman.
He is a close friend, and all the movies are hits. All the four movies that he did were of different genres. One wouldn't even feel that all four were created by the same director.
The ‘gang of four’ becomes close friends
The gang of four, who always gets whacked in 'Thallumala', are fast friends now. Tovino is the star among us. He got established in the industry well before us. But, he does not have the air of a star. He behaves in a friendly manner. He is a man of great personality.
We all have become really good friends who can put our hands around each other’s shoulders and call ‘Machane’ (colloquially used to address a close friend). Not just Tovi, Adri, Swathi Das and Austin, but others including Shine Tom too are part of the gang. All of us are a family now. We have more theatre visits coming up together.
Discusses subjects of social relevance
'Thallumala' discusses many topics of social relevance though what strikes one immediately is the blows. The film has many layers to it. It discusses several issues that mislead today’s generation. Reels, fights and the vibrant world is what strike the youth of today. But there is a message that reality is beyond what is seen around us and that we must move forward in life, carefully.
Thallumala has a brilliant script. We hope that the film lovers will start discussing the other elements in the script even without us saying anything about it, in the coming days.
Thallumala is my career's best
All the movies I have worked in are dear to me. Thallumala is being celebrated a lot now. I don’t think there is any other movie (of mine) that was so widely accepted. Operation Java and Unda laid a strong foundation for me. My characters - Biju Kumar in Unda, Vinayadas in Operation Java, and Jamshi in Thallumala - have all been accepted well. That is luck.
'Saudi Vellakka' is my next release. It is expected to reach the theatres during Onam. Other upcoming projects are 'Sulekha Manzil' by Ashraf Hamza, a movie by Shamal Sulaiman, and 'Jackson Bazaar Youth'.