‘Thankamani’ review: This Dileep-starrer suffers from predictability

Films based on real-life incidents have more often than not appealed to the Malayali audience, be it 2018, Pada, Virus or Take Off, in recent times. Keeping with the trend, director Ratheesh Raghunandan revisits a tragic and infamous incident from 1986, which left a black mark in Kerala’s political history.

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Thankamani begins with the brutal murder of a top politician, Varadarajan (Kottayam Ramesh) – in fact, the brutality might remind one of the American thriller series Saw. The identity of the murderer is revealed soon, as Arpitha Nath IPS (Pranitha Subhash) investigates the case, and so is the motive.

A flashback shows Abel Joshua Mathan (Dileep) returning to his village Thankamany in Idukki district on the ‘Highlight’ bus (originally, Elite), after three years in Abu Dhabi. An altercation between the bus operators and the college students sets the stage for the conflicts to follow.

Dileep and Manoj K. Jayan as the antagonist Mani Peter do justice to their roles. The supporting cast of Pranitha Subhash, Neeta Pillai and others, too, complement the lead characters well.

Music, too, plays an important role. The background score by William Francis and cinematography by Manoj Pillai deserve a special mention. While the music highlights the tension in each scene, the production design unit does a great job at reproducing the late 1980s.

Thankamani focuses on the tragic incident, sometimes at the cost of ignoring the fringe incidents that are related to it. It paints a distressing picture of a village that did not get justice. But it suffers from predictability and cliches, which spoil the experience.

P.G. Viswambharan’s 1987 Malayalam film Itha Samayamayi, too, was based on this incident. Both the films have done a commendable job to keep it as close to the truth as possible.

Film: Thankamani

Director: Ratheesh Raghunandan

Cast: Dileep, Neeta Pillai, Pranitha Subhash and others

Rating: 2.5/5