Thottappan starts with the story of two thieves in an island village of Rural-Kochi, Ithakk and Johnappan. They both are hard-core friends and operate robberies together for years.
Written by PS Rafeeque, Thottappan is based on an eponymous Malayalam short story by Francis Noranha. Vinayakan plays the titular character of Sarah's godfather, aka her Thottappan, Itthaque. Shanavas K Bavakutty proved his mettle with Kismath. So, with his talent teamed with a powerhouse performer like Vinayakan in the lead Shanavas K Bavakutty could only reap brilliance. And it has.Jonappan and Itthaque are friends as thick as thieves and also, thieves. But when Jonappan is suddenly murdered Itthaque finds himself taking care of his infant Sarah as her godfather. Sara and Itthaque develop a warm and protective bond for each other; and both seething for revenge to the man who murdered Jonappan.Vinayakan, known for his gritty and rustic characters, takes to Itthaque as fish to water. Itthaque is a thief, yes, but he is also a peoples' man and is loved in his island. Vinayakan nothing less than what would be expected of him. And, if anything, his performance is only slightly eclipsed by the splendor of Roshan Mathew as Esmu. Roshan's character, with the myriad of shades between black and white is portrayed with finesse.
Priyamvada Krishnan, entrusted with the character of Sarah, holds her place matching with the powerhouses that are Vinayakan and Roshan Mathew. It is not to say that she gives them a competition, but nevertheless, she does match up to them. Reghunath Paleri as Adruman is a revelation on the screen. The music by Leela L Girish Kuttan is captivating, and so is the background score by Jithin Varghese. Three cheers to the music department that raises the narrative with their soulful charms. The island where the story is based is beautiful and geographically bountiful, and Suresh's camera makes good use of the same.Thottappan is an atmospheric movie. And hence takes a while to unravel and that might not suit every palate. However, the narrative rhythm does make it worthwhile. Manoj K Jayan as Fr.Peter often turns out to be the comic relief, but feels far from a relief. The comedy seems stretched out and repetitive, one we've seen him do umpteen times, only not as a priest.
Over that it may not bode well that the story gets predictable as it nears the conclusion.The story starts as a feel good movie and steadily turns into a suspenseful intrigue. Kudos to the writer and director for the dexterous execution of a tender story of a father-daughter duo that stealthy turns into one of intrigue and suspense. Be fairly warned that if you are only looking for a feel-good movie then you may steer clear. But the well etched out characters and the bittersweet ending does make for a compelling storytelling and an endearing visual experience. And that makes Thottappan a definite treat for a movie enthusiast.