After its Netflix release in December 2021, director Basil Joseph’s Minnal Murali has been creating ripples in the cinema fraternity for being Mollywood’s first superhero movie. The movie has the dashing Tovino Thomas in the lead as a tailor named Jaison who dreams of making it big in the fashion scene in the US and hails from a small town called Kurukkanmoola in northern Kerala. In the movie, he acquires superpowers after getting struck by lightning. Minnal Murali has become an instant classic superhero flick with the hero saving the day when the villain wreaks havoc in town.
Much has been already written about the movie and how it became a blockbuster hit within just a few days of its release. But the character that deserves particular mention is that of Bijimol aka ‘Bruce Lee Biji’, as she’s popularly known, played by debutante Femina George.
This young, hardworking woman with a lot of spunk is a trainer at her own martial arts academy – hence the prefix Bruce Lee. She also runs a travel agency, thereby helping regular townsfolk achieve their dreams of flying abroad. Contrary to the usual elite, corporate ‘girl boss’ characterisation of independent and bold female roles portrayed in mainstream movies, Bijimol is more of a salt of the earth human being who one can easily relate to. She is your quintessential girl next door – she whizzes past on her scooty across town with a smile on her face. When needed, she can also slam down her forearm on a pile of bricks while she’s training her students at her academy and even brave a street fight while wearing her hair up in a bun.
Bijimol also does not mope around and wait in melancholic agony for a knight in shining armour to come and rescue her. She always stands up for herself and makes her own choices. In fact, her introductory scene in the movie shows the camera closing in as she kicks out her former lover Aneesh after he nonchalantly arrives at the academy to invite her to his impending wedding with Bincy, the daughter of the rich S.I. Sajan Antony. Bincy also happens to be Jaison’s former love interest. Here, we come to know that it was actually Bijimol who ended the courtship as the gentleman was not in favour of ‘allowing’ her to pursue her career goals after marriage. Incidentally, Aneesh owes a lot of money to Bijimol which he drained off of her during the course of their romance so he could actualise his aspirations.
We also see that it is Bijimol who assists Jaison file his application for a passport and visa to fly to the US. She even motivates him to attend Aneesh and Bincy’s wedding to give people the impression that both of them have moved on from their previous romantic pursuits. Even in all the sequences that lead up to the confusion of Jaison being wrongly targeted for the crimes committed by the villain, it is Bijimol who firmly stands by his side and helps him solve the mystery of who the real culprit is. Amongst all this, we see a beautiful friendship blooming between Bijimol and Jaison. It is heartwarming to note that the writers did not feel the need to bring in an unnecessary romantic fruition to their platonic connection.
In the scenes leading up to the climax of the movie, it is indeed Jaison who comes to the rescue as the superhero Minnal Murali to save the town from harm when the villain goes on a spree of mass destruction. But it is Bruce Lee Biji who is the real saviour here despite not possessing any extraordinary powers and whose equally significant efforts shouldn’t go unseen in the end.
Owing to her display of sheer courage in the face of adversity, Bijimol discovers the underground room at the town fair where all the combustibles were hidden by the villain with the fire about to go off in seconds. She puts her strength and intelligence to use and kicks the nearby wall where she notices water trickling down. The force of her kick enables more water to gush in and she thus puts out the fire.
As the actress Femina herself described her character in an interview with Mathrubhumi, Bijimol, even without any powers, is strong enough. She is a superwoman who doesn’t need superpowers!
Karthika Jayakumar, a postgraduate student of Communication at the University of Hyderabad.
Featured image: Screenshot from Minnal Murali/Netflix