A still from ‘Thank You’
One can present a particular trade group or even a community from an outside perspective, or see them as one would from the inside. I Thank you, immersed in the world of small-time agents, workshop men and deliverers in Thrissur’s gold industry, director Saeed Arafat and scriptwriter Syam Pushkaran, choose to do the latter. The song sequence during the opening credits — a montage of every activity in an industry that mostly operates under the radar — sets the tone for what’s in store.
It is a beautifully crafted sequence that depicts the exact work, the risks involved, the scale of the business and the camaraderie between the key players. When Kannan (Vineet Srinivasan), who delivers finished gold to jewelers in various states, carefully ties a roll of paper filled with gold bangles around his waist – as a precaution before his delivery – someone Dangerous paths are revealed. That he has to walk. It’s a path full of scams and backstabbing possibilities. Thank you is related to.
Mithu’s (Biju Menon) gold business depends on Kanan’s easy charm, with whom he has developed a wide network of contacts. The script is built around two events that take place during his gold run. The second incident, Kanan’s disappearance in Mumbai with a large amount of gold, drives the film forward. But we come back to the seemingly trivial first episode, Kanan, Mithu and their friend (Vineet Thattal) falling into a police trap during a trip to Coimbatore. Aspects of their character, hitherto unknown, are revealed as we go along, but one important aspect of one of the characters is saved for last.
Director: Saeed Arafat
Cast: Vineeth Srinivasan, Biju Menon, Girish Kulkarni, Aparna Balamoorli
But despite how little we know about them, we continue to be invested in their lives, almost as much as they are in gold, thanks to how they’re written. The women (especially Kanan’s wife played by Aparna Balmorali) get less written roles though, with only gold merchant Ambika (Indira Prasad) getting a strong part. Actor Kochopreman, who passed away recently, has one of the most memorable lines in the film.
The film begins with the arrival of a Mumbai police team as a police procedural led by a competent officer (Girish Kulkarni in a brilliantly written role). The investigation, which focuses on Dunnett, is also about letting us into the intricacies of the trade and new aspects of the characters. Even amidst the seriousness of the questioning of the suspects and the seriousness of the molestation, humor continues to emerge, the narrative hardly loses its grip on us.
This almost stifling and the anticipation created by investigating all the geographies can have negative effects, as the big reveal at the end can be less satisfying, depending on how you look at it. Looking at it purely as an investigative thriller, what we get in the end may be less, but more of a character study of someone who only shows the best parts of his life to those closest to him. This is a winner. But the journey to this point is expertly handled, whichever way you look at it.
Thankum is currently playing in theaters.