Theevandi movie star cast: Tovino Thomas, Samyuktha Menon, Suraaj Venjarammoodu
Theevandi movie director: Fellini T. P.
Theevandi movie rating: 2 stars
Cigarette smoking is not an easy thing to do. For teenagers living in a close-knit neighborhood, managing to take a puff is almost impossible. First, one has to discreetly procure a cigarette and then trek a couple of miles away from the overtly concerned neighbors, find a secluded place, before lighting the cigarette. A teenage smoker always has a sense of constant worry, that somebody may catch him smoking.
The fear of getting caught will follow as long as they hold on to the habit. They can’t smoke in a public place because the police will catch them. They have to hide the cigarette when they run into an elder or superior. Many can’t smoke when they are with their wife or girlfriend. And it is not advisable to smoke around children. And then, there is the fear of getting cancer.
Debutant director Fellini TP’s Theevandi, a nickname for a chain-smoker, captures these pressing challenges faced by young smokers. The story is set in a small village called Pullinadu in Kerala, where Bineesh Damodaran aka Theevandi (Tovino Thomas), has made a record of sorts for smoking. He even aspires to set a world record by smoking 16 packs of cigarettes at the same time. Writer Vini Vishwa Lal establishes that Bineesh is a naturally born smoker at the very beginning. When Bineesh tries to break the world record, you won’t be surprised. Because, you already know his story which the film’s writer has taken from Pablo Picasso’s life. As Picasso’s birth story goes, he was not breathing when he was born. His uncle took a drag from a cigar and blew the smoke onto the baby’s face. The newborn coughed and started to breathe.
Bineesh was also brought to life by his uncle in the same fashion. But, unlike Picasso, he did not become the greatest artist of the century. He ends up being a tobacco addict. After the story takes off on such a surrealistic note that borders on spoof, the film has very little entertainment to offer.
There are three stories in the film. Story A is Bineesh’s addiction. Story B is about Bineesh’s love which is at stake because of his addiction. Story C is the careers of two local politicians which are on the line because of Bineesh’s addiction. And all these stories lead to the single and the most obvious conclusion that “smoking is injurious to health.”
There are comic moments in the film that engage you at some level. But, the film terribly fails to strike the emotional chord that was intended by its makers. We only get to see Bineesh’s de-addiction struggles in broad strokes, in spite of the fact that Bineesh’s addiction is the central conflict of the movie. And we are not even anxious whether Bineesh’s girlfriend Divya (Samyuktha Menon) will give him a second chance for it’s too obvious that she will. The political satire brings in some laughs and that’s that.
The performances from Tovino, Samyuktha, Suraaj Venjarammoodu, Saiju Kurup, Surabhi Lakshmi and other members of the star cast make the otherwise lukewarm writing tolerable.
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