These days, any film starring Tovino Thomas instantly goes into the most anticipated list of most Malayali viewers. And after the success of Mayanadhi, everyone is eager to see what kind of role Tovino is going to do next.
A new Tovino film, titled Theevandi, is about to release in a couple of weeks. Its director, Fellini T.P., a debutant, spoke to Express about the film.
Tovino being an extremely busy actor, how did you get him to sign the film?
We actually talked to Tovino around two years back. This was around the time his Oru Mexican Aparatha had come out, and he was beginning to get busy. And this being a role that Tovino hasn't done before, it instantly caught his fancy. But things are much different for him now. He would be very hard to get now (laughs).
Can you tell us a little about Tovino's character? How different is this from the characters he had played earlier? Is there lot of scope for comedy here?
He is an unemployed guy who happens to be a chain-smoker. And that's how the title of the film, Theevandi (train) came about. It's unlike anything you've seen him in before. He has not done this sort of role before. Tovino's is an ordinary character who hails from a small village. As for comedy, I would say that it's more of situational comedy. The humour is not forced.
Is this a message-driven film?
Nothing like that. My intention was to do a feel-good entertainer. Normally, when you see someone doing a film about drugs or alcohol, you expect it to be so dark. My film, despite having a lead character who smokes, doesn't go there. When we are dealing with a story about characters who drink and smoke, there is a tendency to over-analyse everything. We don't want people to think that this is a "dark" film. Smoking is not the primary focus here.
So this means that we can expect a lot of anti-smoking warnings popping up everywhere?
(Laughs) I expect there to be, because the smoking scenes are going to be there throughout almost the entire film. But like I said, this film should be seen as a family-friendly entertainer and not a public health warning.