Valatty review: An experimental love story of dogs that is a visual treat for pet lovers

Devan's directorial debut is a love story between Tomy and Amalu — two dogs that live in the same neighbourhood.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published:Aug 09, 2023

On par with Hollywood films!

Valatty (Malayalam)

  • Cast: Roshan Mathew, Aju Varghese, Sanju Sanichen, Akshay, Vijay Babu, and Rohini
  • Director: Devan
  • Producer: Friday Films
  • Music: Varun Sunil
  • Runtime: 1 hour 53 minutes

There aren’t many films in India that are based on dogs. Valatty: Tale of Tails is an experimental movie in this genre where dogs speak to each other.

What makes it more interesting is that a handful of mainstream Malayalam actors lent their voices to these dogs.

The film’s trailer gave the impression that it is a tale of the relationship between dogs and human beings, but not. Valtty is a love story between Tomy and Amalu — two dogs that live in the same neighbourhood.

Well, the movie does bear some resemblance with the recent Malayalam films Neymar (2023) and Charlie 777(Kannada, 2022).

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Romantic dog-drama 

devan Valatty

‘Valatty’ is released in multiple languages. (Supplied)

Tomy and Amalu are neighbours who fell in love. Tomy is owned by Roy (Vijay Babu) and Amalu is a female dog that belongs to a Brahmin family.

The owners are against the relationship of the canines. The real issue arises when they found out that Amalu is pregnant and they keep the dogs in captivity.

As in a commercial potboiler, both the dogs elope.

The difficulties faced by these dogs after eloping are similar to that faced by human beings.

On their way, they meet Bruno — the villain-dog — but they are saved by an old dog in the streets.

The most interesting combination comes when Karidas, a local breed, enters the picture. Karidas lives with Sumathi (Rohini) who runs a food stall.

The scenes involving Tomy, Amalu, and Karidas evoke laughter in the theatre. Soubin Shahir lent his voice to Kari and I must say, the actor is a perfect choice.

Meanwhile, Amalu is abducted by Bhasi (Akshay Radhakrishnan), for an illegal pharmaceutical company that keeps dogs in captivity. The firm is responsible for injecting its medicines into captivated dogs.

How Tomy saves Amalu? Does their love story win? — is worth watching on the screen.

Experimental movie

Valatty has over 10 dogs in key roles

‘Valatty’ features 10 dogs in key roles. (Supplied)

Valatty is surely an experimental movie which portrays that dogs do have feelings. It is also vocal about the stray dog menace and how human beings deal with the problem without any proper mandate.

Movies that feature pets usually focus on the relationship between humans and pets. But in Valatty, debutant director Devan, who is also the scriptwriter, creates an animal universe by roping in a rooster and a cat.

The rooster’s dialogues like “I will be made soon into chicken curry” add the fun quotient to the film. Aju Varghese lent his voice to the rooster.

There are quite a few interesting aspects that draw similarities with humans. For instance, Amalu is a vegetarian since it’s raised in a Brahmin family and its admirers — the other dogs in the neighbourhood — are shown as eve-teasers.

The transformation of Bruno from a negative to a positive character and his backstory is impressive. Kari’s character has an interesting twist which if revealed would be a spoiler.

However, the treatment of dogs in captivity is cliched.

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Perfect dubbing 

Valatty Aju Varghese Roshan Mathew

‘Valatty’ has the voices of Aju Varghese and Roshan Mathew, among others. (Supplied)

Dubbing plays a crucial role in Valatty. Roshan Mathew dubbed for Tomy and Raveena Ravi for Amalu. The actors perfectly express the feeling of love through their voices.

Kari draws huge applause in the theatre, thanks to Soubin Shahir.

Indrans lent his voice to the old dog, Sunny Wayne to Bruno, and Saiju Kurup to a canine that admires Amalu.

There are voices of Surabhi Lakshmi (with her Kozhikode dialect) and Renjini Haridas, a pet lover herself, too. The duo make an impact despite the short stint.

It was a smart way to rope in renowned actors for dubbing work. In fact, Deva told South First that the crew dubbed for certain characters in the flick.

Related: We had set up a dog park to train the canines: ‘Valatty’ director Devan


Valatty is directed by debutant Devan

‘Valatty’ is directed by debutant Devan. (Supplied)

Dogs are the real heroes in Valatty. Human beings are just a part of the story.

The production team had set up a dog park in Kollam to train these canines.

Vijay Babu, who is also the producer of the movie, is good.

Akshay Radhakrishnan is impressive in the negative role.

Sanju Sanichen appears as the boss of Bhasi (Akshay).

Rohini as Sumathi leaves a mark on the audience.

Songs and background elevate the story to a great extent.  There are duets and melancholic songs. The music by Varun Sunil is a major highlight of the movie.

Final take

Valatty is on par with famous Hollywood pet films like Max (2015), Lassie (1994), and Turner and Hooch (1989).

(Views expressed here are personal.)