A promising take on negativity

Lead characters with negative shades are no novelty in Malayalam mainstream cinema, but often there are limits to those shades. The negative portrayals often stop short of making the viewers hate the character. For added measure, there would be a dash of goodness added to the character, to make the audience invest their emotions in the person.

In
Maradona
, Vishnu Narayanan’s debut directorial, the eponymous character played by Tovino Thomas crosses that line at times in the well-paced first half. In one of those early sequences that tells you a lot about the character, the goon on hire, visits a lawyer’s home as part of his ‘job’. As he waits for the man to arrive, he starts some friendly talk with the man’s young daughter. As the seconds pass, you see him transforming into something evil, literally terrorising the kid, to teach her father a lesson.

Later, you see him taking his anger out on a pet dog, catching a noisy dove to probably eat its meat and even showing the finger to a friendly old man next door. There are quite a few parallels to Tovino’s previous film
Mayanadhi
except in the nature of the character. Here too, he is on the run, and in hiding, after one of his ‘jobs’ goes terribly wrong. A bunch of goons led by Martin (Chemban Vinod) are in his pursuit.

He is virtually trapped in a distant cousin’s flat after the family leaves on a long trip, forgetting to leave the keys with him. The injured thug has no one to interact with, except a dog and a few others in nearby balconies, including Asha (Sharanya Nair), a home nurse. The film is a story of his slow transformation in those days in captivity, with the interactions making him re-examine his past. The woman too has a part to play here, who at one point, unaware of Maradona’s criminal past, lectures him on shallow “manliness” that heroic goons associate with violence on helpless humans.

His transformation itself is handled quite well, except towards the end, when commercial considerations push things a little overboard, like when he risks his own life to save a bird’s. Something seems to be churning even within the goon Martin who is after him. You hear him telling his fellow goon how much more harder it is to feed and look after two people, than it is to murder two people.

Maradona
is one more addition to the line of flawed male protagonists in recent mainstream Malayalam cinema, who are all a world away from the one-dimensional, all powerful, do-gooders of the past two decades. If only the film had stayed true to the tone and tenor set in the first half,
Maradona
would have been a much more memorable experience. Yet, for a debut, this is promising stuff.

S.R. Praveen


Source: Read Full Article