MoviesMalayalam Movies

Thottappan Review

U/A Drama, Family 2 hrs 20 mins Jun 5, 2019





Thottappan Review & Rating

Thottappan Review: Well-Made But For Niche Audience

The premise

Thottappan or Godfather is a film about the bonding between Itthaque and his goddaughter, Sara. Without any stars in cast and depending only on a story with intense emotions, the film created a bit of buzz among the informed audience. Thottappan is the big screen adaptation of the short story of the same name by Francis Noronha. 

The world of Itthaque and Sara

Sara comes into Itthaque’s life in unfortunate situations. Sara’s father is Jonnappan who is a thief. He works in tandem with Itthaque. One day suddenly to Itthaque’s surprise, Jonnappan asks him if he would look after his infant daughter (Jonnappan’s) if need arises. 

Itthaque promises that he would. Unfortunately, Jonnappan gets murdered and Sara comes under the protection of Itthaque. How he looks after Sara and get her settled in life form the rest of the story. 

Writing and direction

Sara and Itthaque share a special bond, that of a daughter and godfather. Sara amidst all her hardships is a gritty and brave girl. And Ithaque is a thief with a way with the people of the island where the story is based. The screenplay by P. S. Rafeeque captures the atmosphere quite well and it is captured in the screen with equal skill by the director Shanavas Bavakutty. 

Though the characterisations could do well with a bit more depth, registers on the minds of the audience with their own personality. Thottappan shuttles between the island village and prison. His absence may be as much the reason as his presence in her life which made Sara who she is. When Ismail from the outside world comes into her life, first Itthaque the Thottappan accepts their relationship despite differences in religious beliefs. 

But suddenly, he changes his mind. For not-his-own reasons. The village is populated by a host of colourful characters. They all have a sort of effect on each other at least passively. Why else a priest who needs to be truthful give a bit of lenience to the known thief Itthaque? 

Itthaque also acts as a courier between an old couple with their own families but were in love since their childhood (unfulfilled love). There’s a little boy who helps Sara come out of routine and oft alone life. There’s an equation with a tea shop owner who has an eye on Sara albeit in non-violent ways. The direction by Shanavas is simple but effective. He kept all these maverick characters intact. 

The performances 

Vinayakan in the eponymous role is top-notch. We could mistake him to be the real life (god)father of Priyamvada who played Sara. Joy and pain, anger and bliss. Whatever emotion it is, he is up to the task. Priyamvada for her part has great chemistry with him. Roshan Mathews is good in a delightfully odd man out role. It might be the first time we see him in a rustic rural role wearing lungis. All the other actors are great in their roles and added required drama. 

The crew

The music of the film has a whimsical quality. The background score goes hand in hand with the narration and adds a mystical feel to the proceedings. The cinematography is excellent. The visuals are atmospheric and the top angle shots giving a glimpse of the play field (read: the island village) are superb. The production design is good. The locations have rustic charm. The editing helped the deliberate pacing of the film look crisp. The production values are fine. 


A slow burning father-daughter bonding drama set in a rustic island village setting has a distinctive mystical charm. It may not appeal to everyone but its story resonates well with those who like films like this by having a universal quality. You can watch it once. And if you love it, it has the potential for repeat viewings. 


  • Vinayakan’s performance 
  • Atmospheric setting


  • A little bit of depth in characterisation could have made it better 

Pycker Rating: 3 out of 5

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What is Thottappan About?

Thottappan is about the strong bond of love between a Thottappan (Godfather) and goddaughter. As revealed in the teaser of the film, Thottappan does anything to keep his daughter safe. He protects her like his own life. Acclaimed actor Vinayakan plays the eponymous role in this intense emotional drama. Newcomer Priyamvada plays the role of the daughter in this Shanavas K Bavakutty directorial. Shanavas’ previous film Kismath has won considerable acclaim. 

Thottappan Promises

A story of love - father, daughter, and...

In one of the earliest shots of the official trailer of the film, it is revealed that a friend of the protagonist asks him to be the godfather of his daughter. And it then shows about various friendships, the relationship between the man and his goddaughter, and her love story with a young man. 

Shanavas’s earlier themes of interreligious/intercaste love comes to the fore here too. Thottappan Promises to marry the girl to the man she loved. But by the end of the trailer, we get to know he changes his heart. All because of people around him? Or because of unavoidable circumstances? 

Vinsyakan in the title role

Vinakan is one of the highly rated artists of modern cinema. He won the prestigious Kerala State Film Award for Best Actor for his performance in Kammatipaadam. He was even nominated for the National award for his role in the Dulquer Salmaan starrer. He has received a starring role in this movie and from what little we have seen in the trailers and promos, he has nailed the role. One more award-winning performance is on cards. 

Shanavas Bavakutty and his team

Shanavas Bavakutty has proved himself to be a meticulous artist who can look deep into the hearts of the characters he creates with his previous outing. His choice of having Vinayakan in the lead role as the eponymous Thottappan itself is a winning move from his part. Screenwriter PS Rafeeque has penned the screenplay based on the short story of the same name by Francis Noronha. Leela L. Girikuttan composes the musical score which has an atmospheric feeling. The Cinematic by Suresh Rajan has an earthy feel. 

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