All hail Minnal Murali, home grown superhero, saviour of the distressed, all-round good guy. I’ve just finished watching Basil Joseph’s crackling yarn featuring Jasion (Tovino Thomas) and his worthy antagonist Selvan (Guru Somasundaram), laced with twists and turns and some spectacular set-pieces, and I can’t stop smiling.
Minnal Murali - 2021 Indian Malayalam-language superhero film
A little village in Kerala, which is like any other village in Kerala till it produces these two men with jaw-dropping superpowers, one who protects, and the other who destroys. For a superhero movie whose clear target is both children and the child in grown-ups, Joseph stuffs in a fair degree of complexity. Both Jaison and Selvan have great backstories, which are slowly revealed to us. A bolt of lightning forks in sky and hits both – they discover hidden powers, and both take different forks in the road. One of the most interesting aspects of this Tovino-Basil collaboration is to show us that good and evil are the two faces of the same coin, and the choice to be who we are rests in our hands.
There are many films in the desi superhero canon. Anil Kapoor’s ‘Mr India’, Hrithik Roshan’s ‘Krrish’, Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Ra One’ are the ones that come most easily to mind. But ‘Minnal Murali’ chooses to reference popular American ones for the purpose of slipping in several hilarious lines.
- The film was formally announced in January 2019, but due to the extensive pre-production works, the film's principal photography took place during December 2019. Though shooting got disrupted twice following the two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic and the vandalism of a church set by right-wing groups, the makers managed to complete the shoot within July 2021.
- The film was predominantly shot in Kerala, with few sequences being shot at Hassan in Karnataka. The music of the film was composed by Shaan Rahman and Sushin Shyam, with Shyam also composing the background score, whereas cinematography of the film was handled by Sameer Thahir and editing done by Livingston Mathew.
- The film was set for a theatrical release in late-2020, but was postponed multiple times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In September 2021, the makers announced that the film will be released directly through the streaming platform Netflix, as a result of closure of theatres due to the pandemic.
- It was premiered at the Mumbai Film Festival on 16 December, and was premiered worldwide on the occasion of Christmas Eve (24 December 2021). It received critical acclaim praising performance of cast (especially Tovino Thomas and Guru Somasundaram), story, direction, action sequences, visual effects, climax and the music, with many critics calling it the "best superhero film of India".
"The idea of Minnal Murali was brought to me by writer Arun [Anirudhan] in 2018. Even though it was an interesting idea, it was a massive challenge to make a superhero film in Malayalam. A convincing film in this particular genre was an all set challenge, and if taken up we would have to give in our everything." — Basil Joseph, on the scripting of Minnal Murali.