With desi flavour, Minnal Murali is a fun superhero film without having grand budgets, sets, and visual effects.
This review of Minnal Murali is spoiler-free.
In the age of cinema where superhero films are rampaging through the box office, Malayali filmmaker Basil Joseph comes with a fresh take and originality to create a desi (homemade for Hindi) superhero with Netflix’s Minnal Murali. Rooted in the local cultural context, it may not have the grand larger-than-life setting of other foreign films popular among the masses. Still, the homegrown product perfectly pulls off all the tricks with its desi flavor.
Like Peter Parker being ‘Spider-Man’ after the spider’s bite, our protagonist Jaison gains a superpower when lightning strikes him. He gains strength like ‘Hulk’, speed like ‘Flash’ and the reflexes like ‘Spider Man’. But, he is not the only one to whom that happens. Shibu, a bullied tea-stall worker, has gone through the same fate and gained the superpower. But, while Jaison realizes his true responsibility to use his superpowers appropriately, Shibu misuses them for his gain.
While most of the cases, the film mainly focuses only on the superhero’s life, director Basil Joseph gives much-needed space to the villain, too, alongside our superhero. The two characters’ story track goes on simultaneously to connect with both characters. Sometimes Shibu’s story exceeds Jaison’s, creating a solid emotional connection with the villain. The backstory of Shibu is quite heart-touching and sympathetic such that, at some point, his actions on the screen seemed justified to me.
Tovino Thomas as Jaison aka Minnal Murali gives a convenient performance. But, Guru Somasundaram as Shibu steals the show. His sinister gaze to vulnerability towards his childhood sweetheart, Usha; Somasundaram perfectly brings life to all these shades of a complex character.
But the film is too long that the anticipation for the climax raises high towards the movie’s progression. Though the finale is excellent, it doesn’t match the expectation it creates. Also, some plot errors make unnecessary jerks in the wholesome experience.
There have been many attempts to explore the superhero genre in India before. From Krrish to Ra-One, they are, in most cases, heavily influenced by Hollywood films of this genre. Though having large settings and massive budgets, these films lacked the true essence of our cultural context. Minnal Murali? may not have that, but it successfully induces the missing piece of the puzzle, the authentic flavor of roots. Despite having flaws, the maker should be lauded for that.