Home is where the heart is and finding this heart, pretty much, sums up the movie Thirike which released on the OTT platform NeeStream.
Unlike in 2006 Dileep-starrer Pachakuthira, which showed how one develops a bond with his autistic brother, Thirike focuses on the journey of two brothers with a wider aspect of finding true happiness.
While it is hard to confine Thirike into any particular genre, it clearly takes its inspiration from movies like 'The Peanut Butter Falcon'. However, it does not fall under the conventional inspirational genre, nor can it be termed as a family drama, even though it involves a family. It does not have any intense moment of characters struggling or falling into the depths of despair. But it has subtle elements of both of these genres with a wonderful background of the two brothers bonding together and saving a family from falling apart.
There's a beauty in how the movie begins. Over the opening credits, we get to hear a voice-over conversation between two people. While one voice insists on keeping the children in orphanage, the other voice shows a hesitation in admitting the elder kid at the place, stating that he needs more care and attention. The first voice then also mentions how the younger kid tried to run from home with his brother. The camera then zooms in on the face of a little boy along with a blurry glimpse of his elder brother beside him.
We soon get to see an instance which lets us know that the little boy would go to any extent to protect his brother. But destiny is different for the two as they get separated. The narrative then shifts it's mood with a soothing track in background, showing that the duo had belonged to a rather happy home before getting in the orphanage and are now leading lives separately.
Though the years have passed, one lives in the past and the other one in the present. It was amusing to see how the makers used a rusted box of cassettes and tape with old songs to evoke a sense of nostalgia for one of the lead protagonist Thoma played by George Kora. Different is the case with his brother Ismu aka Sebumon played by Gopikrishna Varma. He is living with his adopted parents (Shanti Krishna and Gopan Mangat) who love and care for him earnestly.
Roles like Gopikrishnan's in the movie represent a major shift from the old guard, allowing performers with such conditions to portray nuanced and conflicted characters with ease. There’s just such a relief that the movie sees them as human beings, as attractive, fun and exciting.
In a scene when Thoma asks Ismu to come for a boys trip, he shows an eagerness and excietment. Later, when an emotional Thoma reminds Ismu that it's time to go back to home, Gopi does it well enough with his restrained approach.
A special mention for Sarassa Balussery as Sossammammachi, who impresses with her spontaneity. The use of sound and light, space and props is so precise that you feel a sense of connectivity.
George Kora and Sam Xavier have made a decent debut with Thirike, which is truly a heart-warming movie experience. George Kora, who is the writer and the lead actor makes sure to flesh out an immature yet lovable Thoma in the best manner. Cherin Paul, the director of photography deserves applause for the amazing visualization. Ankit Menon imresses with his perfect songs and background score. Watch out for the re-created version of composer Johnson's track.
By the time, we reach the climax, the movie leaves us with more questions. Why was Ismu adopted at the first place? How do Ismu's parents cope up with uncertainty about their child’s future? Why couldn't Thoma be truthful and faithful to his love interest? Had such emotions were portrayed with more depth to characters, the film would have come to a full circle. There is a lack of clarity to what each characters stand for.
Having said that, Thirike is a well-paced, feel good movie with a believable story.
Thirike has enough drama without dreariness, humour and relatable characters. Like how the film puts it, Thirike is about loving each other without any set conditions, accepting all shortcomings and fighting our inner battle of egos.