Vishnu Narayan’s Maradona is a movie in which the journey is more interesting than the destination. Maradona (Tovino Thomas), seemingly a charmer, takes refuge in his estranged cousin’s flat in Bengaluru after he gets injured in an accident. The cousin and family are about to go on a vacation, though, and Maradona is left to fend for himself for a week in the flat, where he gets accidentally locked in.
The film swings back and forth in time, revealing bits and pieces of Maradona’s past, and it turns out that he and fellow goon Sudhi are hardcore criminals on the run, after beating up someone as part of a ‘quotation’. Chemban Vinod, who plays a politician’s goon, is after Maradona, and then there is the student/home nurse next door, Asha, who Maradona befriends, played by Sharanya R Nair.
A host of minor characters are also part of the chase but the film rightly belongs to Tovino, and can be considered a celebration of the actor in him. Those enamoured by Tovino as the lovable Mathen in ‘Mayaanadhi’ will be in for a shock to watch Tovino as Maradona. Although there are similarities somewhere in terms of the good-looking guy with the criminal background, Maradona is as hard-hearted as they come. He doesn’t hesitate to threaten a child to get back at her father, or set a bird trap for a taste of pigeon fry, and has no trace of guilt. The actor takes on this never-before- seen face with elan, and deserves applause for it.
The stark contrast between the loving family in pastel shades and picture perfect settings, and the smoking and drinking thugs in greys, has played out well in the film. It’s the little things that brings in moments of brilliance – the cheeky old man in the opposite apartment, the beagle who bears mute witness to the protagonist’s transformation.
The climax offers nothing new, however, and the filmmaker seems to have compromised on the sheer rawness of the characters for a feel-good tag. The home nurse is also mildly irritating at times, perhaps in an attempt to stress on her ‘innocence’ and the film seems to paint all the men as sinners in need of rescue by their women, long suffering mothers or loving girlfriends/wives.
Maradona also touches upon the question of the girlfriend’s virginity, though its not the crux of the film. Save for a few jarring artificial dialogues, Maradona is quite watchable, just for the sake of Tovino.