Thuramukham review: Poornima Indrajith, Nivin Pauly and Arjun Ashokan fare well in this well-crafted classic

Accompanied by soul-stirring music, director Rajeev Ravi brings alive the Mattancherry shooting incident of 1953.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published:Mar 10, 2023

Rajeev Ravi's 'Thuramukham'
A classic from Rajeev Ravi!

Thuramukham (Malayalam)

  • Cast: Nivin Pauly, Nimisha Sajayan, Poornima Indrajith, Darshana Rajendran, Arjun Ashokan
  • Director: Rajeev Ravi
  • Producers: Sukumar Thekkepat, Jose Thomas and Listin Stephen
  • Music: K and Shahabaz Aman
  • Runtime: 2 hours 54 minutes

Thuramukham, the much-anticipated film from director Rajeev Ravi, is based on the Mattancherry shooting incident which occurred in 1953.

Rajeev Ravi’s films have a different set of filmgoers who are passionate about realistic films.

It will be quite interesting to watch a film based on true incidents that involve shootings and protests in Kerala after Indian Independence. Let’s check how it fares:

Focuses on ‘Chappa’ system

thuramukham poster

Nivin Pauly in a poster of ‘Thuramukham’. (Supplied)

Thuramukham showcases the awful “Chappa” labour allocation system that was prevalent in the seaport in Kochi. It was a part of the feudal practice under which copper coins were thrown at workers. Those who get hold of the coin get work.

The practice resulted in a lot of protests that ended up in violence.

The movie is an adaptation of the drama penned by KM Chidambaram of the same name. Chidambaram’s son Gopan Chidambaram wrote the screenplay for the movie, without giving any commercial elements.

Nivin Pauly appears as Mattancherry Moidu, a local goon. Poverty and unemployment turn him into a henchman of a feudal lord named Pacheek (Sudev Nair).

Moidu is the elder son of one of the families shown in the story. Umma (Poornima Indrajith) is his mom and Maimu (Joju George) is his father.

Moidu’s younger brother is Hamza (Arjun Ashokan) and Darshana Rajendran essays the role of Khadeeja, Moidu’s younger sister.

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Moidu is featured as an irresponsible person with a grey shade. Hamza takes the responsibility of looking after his family. But he is hardly able to make the ends meet due to low wages and the “Chappa” system.

The “Chappa” system is a hindrance to all families in Mattancherry where people work at the seaport for a livelihood. Mattancherry was once a trade hub in Kochi.

In 1953, a slow uprising happened in Mattancherry with the leadership of trade unions backed by left organisations and it ended in violent shootings that claimed the lives of many labourers.

A realistic film

Rajeev Ravi, known for his unique style of filmmaking and making movies without any compromises, did superb work by highlighting an incident that is not even in the memory of locals.

The movie is slow-paced, before the interval and post-interval; many instances happen in the movie. It also focuses on the social conditions in the early 1930s and 1950s.

The human emotions due to poverty, aggression followed by lack of work and helplessness due to their circumstances are some of the key takeaways for the audience who mostly belong to the privileged class of this era.

Power-packed performances

cast and crew thruramukham

The cast and crew of ‘Thurakukham’. (Supplied)

Thuramukham has an ensemble cast that includes Joju George, Indrajith, Sudev Nair, Arjun Ashokan, Nimisha Sajayan, Poornima Indrajith, and Darshana Rajendran.

Poornima Indrajith scores with her career-best performance. Her role as Umma (mom), is amazing. She portrays the helplessness of a woman in that period with ease.

Grief is the only expression she showcases throughout the film which gives an idea of how a single mother had to take care of her family during those times.

Her husband goes absconding and giving more details would be a spoiler.

Nivin Pauly as Moidu delivers yet another captivating performance after his mesmerising show as Akbar in the 2019-released Moothon directed by Geethu Mohandas.

Even though the movie is realistic, there are some areas where his fans can whistle for the swag.

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It’s the career’s best show by Arjun Ashokan, too. As Hamza, he gets an equal role to that of Nivin Pauly.

Nimisha Sajayan’s character is bold but she doesn’t have many scenes compared to other actors.

Thuramukham movie poster

A poster of ‘Thuramukham’. (NivinOfficial/Twitter)

Darshana Rajendran also had a good role but Poornima steals the show.

Indrajith Sukumaran as workers’ union leader Santo Gopalan and Joju George as Maimu did justice to their roles.

Sudev Nair as Pacheek is convincing. But the actor is getting cliched with negative roles.

Rajeev Ravi handled the cinematography for Thuramukham. Being the director, he knows his frames well. The movie, which is shot in dark in the sea and port, has come out quite well.

The music composed by K and Shahabaz Aman is the soul of the movie. The background score gives goosebumps to the audience sometimes.


Thuramukham is a sincere effort by Rajeev Ravi and his team to showcase real-life incidents of class division and oppression that are forgotten by the new generation.

The movie has amazing performances by Poornima Indrajith, Nivin Pauly, and Arjun Ashokan.

(Views expressed are personal.)