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Move aside Kunjali Marakkar and Kayamkulam Kochunni. And forget the anti-hero Sukumara Kurup. Malayalis now have a new screen hero. Tovino Thomas’ Minnal Murali (Lightning Murali). By saving the village of Kurukkanmoola from grave danger, Minnal Murali has surely walked into the imaginary world of Malayali fandom.

Director Basil Joseph, in collaboration with writers Arun Anirudhan and Justin Mathew, have successfully transformed Tovino Thomas into Jaison Varghese who is struck by lightning one night, develops superhuman strength and rechristens himself saviour of this little hamlet in the Kerala countryside.

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Until this sensational turn of events, Jaison is an ordinary hard-working Indian youngster who fancies himself to be a cool dude, helps in his father’s tailoring business and dreams of leaving the country for greener pastures in the Western hemisphere where he believes he will make big money since “tailors are in great demand in America – you see, no one knows how to sew there since they wear only readymade garments”.

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Minnal Murali is Basil’s tribute to the Hollywood superhero genre. Minnal Murali is a superhero origin story. The fight sequences are well-conceived and executed.

 

Much-acclaimed stunt choreographer Supreme Sundar, an Indian cinema veteran and action director Vlad Rimburg are part of the team.

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Tovino Thomas is identified by his innocent appearance, not muscle or an adherence to conventional notions of masculinity. He is an inspired choice for a superhero because it is only once you see Jaison step into his avatar as Minnal Murali that you realise the importance of the disconnect between the young star’s endearing persona and the body he has built for this role.