Maradona, a love story directed by debutante Vishnu Narayan, is pivoted around a gangster. And Narayan, former assistant of directors Aashiq Abu and Dileesh Pothan, scores his first goal with an entertainer that is marked by natural acting, strong characterisation, good humour and love that steps out of the box.
The film opens with Maradona (Tovino Thomas) and Sudhi (Tito Wilson) being chased by a group of young men. Close buddies since childhood, these two gangsters are on the run from a local politician who is baying for their blood.
Maradona and Sudhi get separated. Maradona takes refuge in a friend’s apartment in Bengaluru. Sudhi keeps shifting from one hotel to another.
Juggling between the past and the present, viewers learn about Maradona, his ruthless nature and his trade. In the present, he is locked in accidentally and confined to the apartment. The only option for him to connect with the outside world is the balcony. It becomes the centre of action — his friendship with the old man living across and Asha (Sharanya) the young home nurse living next door.
It’s not a regular love story. Maradona and Asha initially don’t even see each other as their balconies are separated by a wall, yet the conversations they indulge in is fun, sowing the seeds for a relationship.
Love can change people. Maradona, who is introduced as a ruthless goon, one with no qualms about intimidating a little girl and even ties up a pet dog’s snout to shut him up, is not the same man when the curtains finally fall.
Scenarist Krishna Moorthy’s writing of well-defined characters acts as a strong canvas for the actors to perform.
Thomas gets into a gangster’s shoes again, his last similar role was in Mayanadhi. While Thomas’s Mathan had a child like vulnerability, his Maradona is not someone you approve of.
Fielding various emotions that Maradona goes through, Thomas plays it all up well. And Wilson complements him as Sudhi. Newcomer Sharanya is a talent of promise who delivers exactly what is required of the character.
Why is Leona Lishoy only restricted to supporting roles? Lishoy, with an impressive screen persona, shines again as Nadia, who welcomes Maradona into her apartment. As a mother to a little girl, Lishoy held her own in a role completely different from Sameera, the glamorous actress of Mayanadhi.
Shalu Rahim leaves a mark as Aravindhan. The actor playing the local politician is very good, too.
Cinematographer Deepak D Menon’s visuals are brilliant, especially the chase sequences that keep the narrative on its toes.
Sushin Shyam’s score is another strength of the film.
Maradona makes for a good watch.
Don’t miss it
Maradona releases in the UAE on September 6.