Winsome heartthrob

With 'Kalki', Toino Thomas is making his foray as a mass hero and the trailers hold real promise of being a winner as an out and out action hero, writes Toms Varghese.

Tovino Thomas is enjoying a break. And a well-earned one too. After all, the young heartthrob of Malayalam cinema is currently the most prolific among his peers.

“I’ve just finished shooting for Edakkadu Battalion 06 and taken a three-month sabbatical to unwind,” said the affable actor. With his last release Luca still doing well at the box-office and the latest Kalki releasing on August 8, Tovino has proven that he is here to stay. He has had five releases till date this year, including a cameo in the blockbuster Lucifer. Last year, he had eight releases including a cameo in the film Naam, and two Tamil films. It would perhaps be a first for an actor to have two releases in the same year, one with him as the hero and the other as a maniacal villain. His role as the psychopath killer Gangadhar Beeja aka Thanathos opposite Dhanush in Maari 2 won him accolades. Tovino said, “There are many offers, but as of now I am concentrating on Malayalam only. I will consider offers from other languages at a later stage, depending on the quality of roles.”

A charmer

His good looks and easy charm should have earned Tovino an easy ticket to stardom, but the journey was not easy. He started off with a small part in the film Prabhuvinte Makkal (2012) but gained popularity after his anti-hero role of the young politician Akhilesh Verma. Tovino continued doing cameos.

He won critical and popular appreciation for his performance in Ennu Ninte Moideen. The actor debuted as a leading man with Guppy (2016), in which he played a civil engineer who masked his personal tragedy by engaging in a quirky rivalry with a teenager. 2017 was the year that Tovino sealed his status as a hero in the industry. He gave four hits that year — Oru Mexican Aparatha, Godha, Tharangam and Mayanadi.

With Kalki, the young actor is making his foray as a mass hero and the trailers hold real promise of being an out and out action hero.

He said, “As an actor, I am always on the lookout to add more variety to my roles. I have played romantic roles, that of an anti-hero and supporting characters. I always wanted to do a film that would give an adrenaline rush to the audience. I got that chance with Kalki.” Tovino plays a police officer in Kalki for which he had to bulk up. “I have a personal trainer, who helps me design the workouts required for each role. A balanced diet is equally important,” he adds.

In character

The actor trained for months for his role in Godha where he had to play a wrestler. It was physically taxing but the payoff was great, he said. “During the akhara scene, I was grappling with a professional wrestler with years of training. Though choreographed, we mostly did the whole scene in a single take.”

Even though he is a mainstream hero, Tovino is not averse to taking up negative roles. “Good roles matter to me more than the shade of the character. If it has depth and potential to challenge me as an actor, I am game.” Having started in the industry as an assistant director, Tovino also nurtures the dream of helming a movie. After the stupendous success of Prithviraj’s directorial debut Lucifer, Tovino was asked about his directorial ambitions. “It is quite far ahead in the future. If I ever do a film, I would like to work on a project that is closer in spirit to Sean Penn’s Into The Wild,” he said.

Bound by ties

He is the brand ambassador of Irinjalakuda Heritage Half Marathon and also lends his support to social causes. He won over people’s hearts during last year’s floods with his active involvement in relief efforts. Tovino is active on Facebook and Instagram and he uses these to connect with friends and fans alike.

Even though he is one of the busiest actors in the industry, Tovino always has time for his family. Yes, the handsome hunk is married to his long-time girlfriend Lidiya and is a doting dad to three-year-old daughter Izza. “I used to miss my family very much, especially my daughter. So, for the past one year, my wife and daughter have been accompanying me to every location.” With a slew of hits, eight films in the pipeline and many to follow, Tovino has certainly become a star who is considered in the same league as young superstars of the industry like Dulquer Salman, Fahadh Faasil and Nivin Pauly. But stardom has not gone to his head. 

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