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Tovino Thomas on 2018: It’s a reminder of the time that people supported each other, and not about the disaster

Tovino Thomas, who plays a former soldier in 2018, talks about shooting the movie that reminded him of the traumatic disaster

Last Updated: 04.58 PM, May 02, 2023


For a lot of people, Tovino Thomas is not just a hero in films but also in real life. The actor was one of many “unlikely heroes” who had emerged during the 2018 Kerala floods, who had put their own lives in danger to rescue those trapped during the disaster that wreaked havoc in the State.

Now, Tovino is playing a pivotal character in director Jude Anthany Joseph’s film 2018, which is based on the Kerala floods of the year. In an exclusive chat with OTTplay, Tovino says that the team had begun discussing the film by the end of 2018 and the actor had even shot a few portions in 2019, before the project was suspended due to the pandemic.

Tovino Thomas in a still from 2018
Tovino Thomas in a still from 2018

While many would jump onboard at the offer of being a part of an important movie such as this in Malayalam cinema, Tovino says he had his reservations. “My initial reaction was that I didn’t want to be part of it, because as it is, some people say that I used the floods for my publicity and my films’. But Jude ettan asked me to first read the script and then take a call,” he says.

Tovino’s character, Anoop, in the movie is far removed from who he is in real life and that apparently played a role in changing his mind. “He isn’t a celebrity at all. He is a common man, who quit the army and returned to his village. During the distressing time, he tried to do what he could as best as possible for the society,” says the actor. “Those would be the only similarities between me and him, but most of us did that anyway. All of us ensured that our neighbours were safe, if they had enough food and offered them support. We did that without anyone telling us or asking us for help. This movie is a reminder of those times and not about the disaster per se.”


Ask Tovino on how the movie was conceived and executed and he says, “More than a documentary, this is an entertainer. However, it’s a story that has to be told. It has fiction but it’s all inspired by true events. We have seen individual footage and read the news articles, but to see it as a coherent story is a different experience. This movie will remind that the rescue workers and the people, whose houses were flooded, were all dealing with their problems and joys too before the disaster struck. So, everybody had their own story and some could be made into separate films. 2018 showcases some of those stories and incidents, and it’s all connected.”

On the shoot of the film, which also has Asif Ali, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Sshivada, Kunchacko Boban, Lal, Narain, Tanvi Ram and Aparna Balamurali, Tovino says that the team relied more on practical effects than CGI. “When you are shooting in a massive water tank with people pumping water from above to resemble rain, you would truly be reminded of the floods and the trauma that a lot of us went through. Before the 2018 floods, we romanced rain looking at the sky, but now we survey the ground to see if water levels are rising,” concludes Tovino.

2018, which is also scripted by Jude Anthany Joseph, is set to hit theatres on May 5.

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