The much-awaited Malayalam superhero flick is finally here, and Tovino Thomas’s Minnal Murali does not disappoint one bit. The movie does full justice to the genre despite the limited budget of the film. Basil Joseph’s third directorial venture has the right amount of humour, action and emotion and is as engaging as his previous films-the rib-tickling Kunjiramayanam and the light-hearted sports drama Godha . Joseph’s latest outing even has a few references from these films, like a bus with board ‘Desham’, the fictional hamlet where the plot of Kunjiramayanam unfolds.

Set in a non-descript village in Kerala in the mid-90s Minnal Murali follows Jaison (Tovino Thomas), an average Joe with big dreams. His life takes a turn when he is struck by a lightning on an eventful night. He survives the bolt from the sky and attains superhuman powers. It takes a while for Jaison to come to terms with his new self and the scenes where Jaison experiments his powers with his nephew and trusted sidekick Josemon (Vasisht Umesh) are engrossing.

Jaison takes the name Minnal Murali and hides behind a mask so that his identity is protected, all the while taking to task those who give him a hard time. However, things are about to get nasty for Murali as he comes face to face with his nemesis Shibu (Guru Somasundaram). Shibu was also struck by the lightning the same night as Murali and boasts of the same powers. And unlike Jaison, his newly acquired powers bring out the evil in Shibu. The good vs evil duel forms the rest of the story.

Tovino excels as the childlike Jaison and as the goofy eponymous superhero. They say villains help define the story’s hero and one of the main aspects that makes Minnal Murali stand out is its supervillain Shibu. The film explores the tragic backstory of Shibu at great length and viewers are able to empathize with him in early half of the film, until his evil side gets the better of Shibu. Somasundaram’s acting prowess is on display, especially in the emotional scenes.

Another positive is the way the film treats its female lead, Bruce Lee Biji (Femina George). Biji is gritty and lends Murali a helping hand in times of crises.

The supporting cast also give impressive performances, be it Baiju, Harisree Ashokan, P Balachandran or Aju Varghese. Sameer Thahir’s cinematography and Livingston Mathew’s editing too lift the film.

Tovino has hinted at a sequel with the possibility of turning Minnal Murali into a franchise. Bring it on!

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