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Shades of ‘Garuda Gamana…’ again

Toby2023★★☆☆☆2/5Director:Basil AlchalakkalCast:Raj B Shetty, Samyukta Hornad, Chaitra J Achar, Gopal Deshpande

It is not easy to describe ‘Toby’ in one line, as it does not align with the usual three-act structure.

The film starts with a police officer looking into the file of a missing person named Toby (Raj). Toby is an orphan subjected to constant abuse as a child, and grows up into a violent man who maintains cordial relationships with a select few. He adopts Jenny, an abandoned girl, and raises her. As she grows up, she questions the ways of Toby’s associates, and a predictable conflict arises. 

Over two hours and a half, the film makes one wonder if it has anything to offer beyond a popular characterisation of Toby. The idea of an oppressed child growing up as a macho fighter standing in solidarity with those who have been kind to him is over-explored.

Raj has also scripted this film and if you have seen his ‘Garuda Gamana Vrishabha Vahana’, you might see a pattern in his mannerisms and the way violence is depicted here. But in its eagerness to add style to violent fights, the film fails to dwell on the emotional and psychological condition of a man with an abused childhood. Little is said about how society fails such children. No attempt is made to show Toby’s struggles in raising his adopted child or to depict his closeness with her, except in a few crowd-pleasing scenes. Almost all characters seem like caricatures.

Raj as Toby, Chaitra as Jenny and Gopalkrishna as his friend Damodara get relatively more screen space and do their bit. Overall, an average film that lacks an emotional or intellectual touch.

(Published 25 August 2023, 23:49 IST)

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