Debutant director Fellini T P's 'Theevandi' is a crisp look into the life of a chain smoker. The simple yet gripping tale of a hardcore smoker Bineesh Damodaran, essayed by Tovino Thomas, could be easily relatable to the life of any compulsive smoker.
'Theevandi' conjures up a series of nostalgic memories that a puff can often give, be it for a non-smoker or someone who is desperately trying to kick the habit.
For Bineesh, it is grey, thick whirl of smoke that bought him to life literally! How the little hero and his friends start smoking, his attempts to buy cigarettes, finding hide-outs to enjoy the cherished cigar butts and the gang's attempt to escape the elders are joined in a clean thread.
The first half of the movie unfurls slowly, exposing us to the village of Pullinad. It's here that Bineesh and his friends dwell. Bineesh is akin to any common village guy, who has completed his studies and is now roaming in search of a job.
Meanwhile, his love interest Devi, played by Samyuktha Menon, is settled with a job at the village office. Both are elated when parents give the nod for their wedding, but soon the hero finds himself in an emotional dilemma and the plot gets serious. Bineesh finds it difficult to quit smoking and if he fails in the bid it would cost him his love.
Would Bineesh overcome this struggle? Well, the second half answers this. Parallel to the love story, the second half also shows how Bineesh and his vice become decisive with regard to a political fight between the characters played by Suraj Venjaramoodu and Saiju Kurup.
With much care the director has attempted to answer life's dilemma through the strange characters with whom Bineesh gets involved. The film also shows how the society stereotypes people, the concept of 'normalcy' and why a smoker can't easily quit the habit with just advice. Fellini gets one point right, the constant question that any non-smoker would put across to a smoker "what do you get out of smoking" won't do any good to both parties.
Tovino's performance as Bineesh is the best thing about the movie. It is with much ease and expertise that he has breathed life to the character of the rustic smoker. The actor has realistically portrayed all the struggles, the desperation and the 'high' a smoker would go through. Tovino, who also plays the teen Bineesh, deserves special mention. His body language is just perfect for the youngster.
Samyuktha Menon, even though is new to the industry, has acted her portion really well. Sudheeh's role as Tovino's uncle is worth applauding, and it was good to see him on the screen after a gap. Shammy Thilakan and Surabhi excel in their roles as local politicos.
The songs play a crucial role in setting the mood of the plot. The song 'Jeevamshamay' rendered by Shreya Ghoshal and K S Harishanker captures all that would make up an innocent love. The song ' Thaa thinnam' by Job Kurien also fills in an element of fun at points where the movie handles serious themes.
Overall, 'Theevandi' is a fine watch and will not leave you disappointed. At times, one may wonder if mixing politics with a novel theme has worked, and the conscious bid to present it in comic light has helped or not! Yet the movie helps to drive home the fact that one can overcome some addictions with one's own will and vigour.
'Theevandi' urges you to discover the one factor in life that can give you a high without any addictives.