Tovino Thomas Strikes At Minnal Speed When I came into the industry, I was not sure if I knew how to act, says the Minnal Murali star from Kerala
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Minnal Murali has been watched for over 22 million hours in the three weeks since its recent release on December 24, 2021. The film is in the Top 10 Trending list on Netflix of 30 countries, including India, Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia, among others, since its release.
And, one person who has been showered with minnal (thunder) speed appreciation is the lead actor of the film, Tovino Thomas. The Malayali actor couldn't have asked for more. When asked if he expected this kind of response, the 33-year-old says, "I wouldn't say I expected it but I dreamt it, we wanted this to happen. We made this movie with our heart and soul, so we wanted this movie to do so well. So when we started this movie, when I read the script in 2018, it was a thin line and was suitable for a very good Malayalam movie. But as Basil (director of Minnal Murali) got enough time to work on the script, he and the writers could do an even more amazing job. So the script was developed so well that it had the possibility or potential to be one of the very good Indian movies. So from then on, the whole team worked hard and maybe the collective consciousness of all of us set the pace."
The team stood together through all challenges and worked hard on it as they believed that it could be a game changer. "Or a golden ticket for us. And it actually was. Whatever dreams we had, it came through," he says. The film is today being called India's first original superhero story.
But, more than the collection records, the positive appreciation that the team and Thomas are getting from around the world is what Thomas is grateful about. "I would like to thank Netflix for releasing the movie in more than 190 countries. We dubbed it in eight languages, and we had to do subtitles and that's what made this possible," he says.
It's going to be 10 years since Thomas' first film Prabhuvinte Makkal. Talking about his learnings in the last decade, and the changes in filmmaking and storytelling that he has observed in the last decade, he says, "Yes, it's gradually changing, but I think right now, we are in a phase of growth in all the industries all over the world. There is a new wave going on, in all the industries. The lines which separated all the industries are blurring. Now, the whole world can watch any movie on the day of its release itself. OTT is a revolution. Once OTT became so popular, movie industries like the Malayalam industry that used to produce a lot of very good content, started getting very good recognition in recent times."
When Thomas came into the industry, in his own words, "I was not sure if I knew how to act." He credits all his learnings in the last decade to his senior actors, technicians, contemporary actors, whom he has worked with and the movies he has watched. "I am not someone who went to a good school and trained. So in the last ten years, I think I have evolved as a better actor. It has been an amazing journey for me since 2012, but I still have a lot to learn. I will continue this process of learning and it is a never ending process," he says.
Thomas is not only an acclaimed actor, he dons the hat of a producer as well. He has produced movies such as Kilometers and Kilometers, Kala and launched his own production house on his birthday, January 21, last year.
However, he loves to focus more on acting, for that is his passion. "I produced movies out of my love for movies, profit is not my concern, not what I expect. So, Kilometres, I produced along with a couple of my friends because I loved the script and wanted to be part of the production team. That was my first production. And my second production Kala, I wanted this script which was narrated to me, to be made. But it was an unconventional script with out-of-the-box contents. Instead of approaching a lot of producers, we all had this thought… Okay, why don't we do it ourselves? So again, that movie was not done for profit, but out of my love for cinema," he says.
India's first superhero, as he is being called, says firmly, "I'm not a full-time producer. I don't want to be a full-time producer. My concentration will always be on acting. That's my profession and that's what I am always passionate about."