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Vinay Fort and Chinnu Chandini Image Credit: Supplied

There is no stopping Vinay Fort in the entertainer ‘Thamaasha’, which is the debut of director Ashraf Hamza and has its heart in the right place

Remakes come with the burden of living up to the original and comparisons are inevitable.

Often, remakes fall short of expectations. But the Malayalam adaptation of Kannada film ‘Ondu Motteya Kathe’, directed by Raj B Shetty, exceeds them.

Written and directed by debutant Ashraf Hamza, ‘Thamaasha’ surpasses the original with its seamless narration and is lifted by terrific acting.

‘Thamaasha’ follows Srinivasan (Fort), a Malayalam language professor, who at 31 years is still looking out for a bride but is rejected on account of his baldness.

Vinay Fort with Divya Prabha -a still from Thamaasha-1561532404875

Frustrated with his family’s concern, he decides not to go the traditional way of matrimony alliances anymore. Instead he wants to try his luck by bonding with three women he meets — his colleague Babita (Divya Prabha); Safiya (Grace Antony), who comes into his life through a chance encounter; and Chinnu, (Chinnu Chandini), a young woman who is comfortable being plus size.

Hamza’s writing is what holds the film together. Creating every character with utmost care he makes them distinct and real. His ability to give the three women enough space to flush out each character is commendable. They may have their human failings yet bring in an air of positivity to their scenes.

Chandini, who takes in her stride the body shaming ridicule she encounters, makes viewers reflect on the lens through which society views and accepts us. It is Chandini who nudges Srinivasan to rethink.

Hamza’s narration is seamless unlike in ‘Ondu Motteya Kathe’ where it is staggered with Rajkumar songs played to reflect the protagonist Janardhan’s state of mind. Hindering the flow further were dialogues that denoted Janardhan’s loud inner voice. It was a wise decision to do away with these two aspects in ‘Thamaasha.’

In ‘Ondu Motteya Kathe’ the characters appeared more cinematic, but in ‘Thamaasha’ every actor brought alive his character with an unmatched spontaneity.

Fort clearly carries the film on his shoulders. As Srinivasan, he is completely believable and his body language brings out his character’s insecurities perfectly.

Raj B Shetty’s Janardhan was timid and unsure of himself unlike Srinivasan, who is more spirited. Playing the perfect tango opposite Fort is Chandini, while Prabha and Antony match steps very well.

‘Thamaasha’s’ other strength is the friendship between Srinivasan and Rahim (Navas Vallikkunnu), a sub-staff at his college. There is more depth to this friendship than in the Kannada story. Hamza has given Rahim more space and Vallikkunnu is spot on every time.

Anil Kurian who plays Sreenivasan’s younger brother cannot be forgotten either. While remaining in the background, his role is one to reckon with.

‘Thamaasha’ with its clean humour keeps you chuckling and will make you ponder too.

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Don’t miss it!

‘Thamaasha’ is out now in the UAE.