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Raj B Shetty on Toby: I loved the challenge of writing a hero who does not speak

Toby, directed by Basil Alchalakkal, with Raj B Shetty and Chaithra J Achar, will release in its Malayalam version on September 22

Raj B Shetty on Toby: I loved the challenge of writing a hero who does not speak
Raj B Shetty in and as Toby

Last Updated: 02.22 PM, Sep 19, 2023


Toby was a film that Raj B Shetty spoke of as the beast that got the best out of him and his team. Written by Raj, based on a short story by writer-filmmaker Dayanand TK, Toby, the former had said, would be far bigger on mass appeal than his previous Garuda Gamana Vrishabha Vahana. This, though, turned out to be quite a red herring when the film released and audiences realised that despite the central character’s sometimes violent streaks, at its core, Toby was an emotional tale of a father and daughter. As a result, the narrative to establish this bond was perceived as ‘slow’ and not to the liking of some sections of audiences. Even though Toby got some good reviews for its Kannada version, there were audiences who were disappointed with the lack of mass elements and the slow pace, which in turn affected its box office journey.

Raj B Shetty in a still from the film
Raj B Shetty in a still from the film

The response from other markets where Toby released in its original Kannada version, especially Kerala, was encouraging, owing to which the team is now ready to release a Malayalam-dubbed version for audiences there. Dulquer Salmaan’s Wayfarer Films is handling Toby’s distribution in Kerala. Ahead of the release, Raj was in Kochi to promote the film, along with director Basil Alchalakkal and Chaithra J Achar. This time around, the actor-filmmaker seems to have changed his approach to the promotions and is now focusing on the father-daughter emotional journey in the story and the challenge involved in playing the title character Toby. In fact, even the trailer cut for the Malayalam version does not focus as much on the ‘Maari avatar’ as the original.


Elaborating on his need to try and write new stuff that does not bore him, and never emulate the formula of another film, Raj said that what he loved about writing Toby was the challenge it presented in terms of having a hero who is speech-impaired. There were limitations in terms of the dialogues that could be written. Raj also wanted to show a beautiful relationship between a father and daughter, wherein he can’t speak and she doesn’t call him ‘father’.

Toby, which has music by Rorschach fame Midhun Mukundan, and cinematography by Praveen Shriyan, both of who have worked with Raj on all his earlier films, will release in its Malayalam version on September 22.

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