Renowned cinematographer Chezhiyan who is known for his works in films like Kalloori, Thenmerku Paruvakaatru, Paradesi and Joker, has turned director with Tolet, which was awarded as the Best Feature Film (Tamil) at the 65th National Awards. Tolet has also got the attention of legendary filmmakers like Asghar Farhadi and Adoor Gopalakrishnan. The film has already fetched 32 awards and 84 nominations at various International Film Festivals. You will automatically be moved to applaud when all the accolades and honours the film has garnered so far, get featured before the start of the film. So, what is this Tolet movie all about? Read on to know!


In the year 2007, the IT and software industry boom happened with many multinational companies setting their foot strong in Tamil Nadu thereby increasing the economy of the state. Though the engineering and computer graduates had a good livelihood in this, the unexpected rise in the economy directly affected the middle-class community, who worked in other fields. 


Here, in Tolet, our protagonist is Ilango, an aspiring filmmaker, who is pressured by his lady landlord to vacate the house in a month's time. Ilango has a wife Amudha (Sheela) and a 5-year-old kid Siddharth. He meets producers to narrate his story, but the reality of the cinema industry hits him hard and he has to wait for his turn. He sets out on a mission to search for a middle-class normal house within a rent of 5K - 6K (remember, the film happens in 2007), but the mainstream house owners aren't convinced to lend their house to him since he doesn't have an assured job and works in cinema, which is not considered as a white collar job. Adding to the worries are some other external factors. With all these factors standing as a hindrance, does Ilango find a new house for his family, or what was his fate in the end? Did he have to give up on his cinema dream? Watch the film to know!



The title and the trailer of the film, of course, suggest the plot of the film, but what makes it a very interesting and unique watch is its screenplay treatment. The liveliness is captured and maintained throughout the 99 minutes. Tolet is an arthouse film that serves us quality cinema and is sure to go down as one of the most important creations in Indian cinema’s history.


The characters are a reflection of the middle-class society and especially, Amudha (Sheela Rajkumar) is a well-written character. She is distressed by the fact that her husband couldn't meet the daily needs of the family and isn't listening to her worries, but at the same time, she is supportive of her husband’s passion without allowing him to compromise on his dreams owing to the family situations. Sheela comes up with a fantastic performance as Amudha, fitting into the bill comfortably. Similarly, Santhosh as Ilango equally scores with his intense act. At no juncture, do you feel an artificiality in the film and major credits go to the actors for this. Through his performance, Santhosh gives a ray of hope that life will one day change and work in his favour.


The overall impact of the film might not connect for the people who haven't lived in a rented house. The audience should adapt to the mood of the film, or else, the pace could test their patience.



The visual story telling has been used to the fullest potential and Chezhiyan himself being the cinematographer and director understands and knows what he wants. The metaphorical representation of a bird coming into the house and going out at regular intervals is noteworthy. Also, there are no OTS (Over The Shoulder) shots, that makes Tolet stand out from other films.


The dialogues are highly thoughtful and act as an aid to the theme of the film. Some impactful lines include, “Rendu mani neram padam edukradhukku evlo mani neram sir wait panradhu!”, “Cinema kaaran na veedu kudukka yosikranga. Aanaa 50 varshama cinema kaaran kita dhan ooraye kudukrom.” These lines not only make one think but also acts as a reality check. The dialogues about casteism, earns applause from the audience. The organic writing is beautifully converted into a visual form with cinema standing high.


The film doesn't have music at all and that helps the audience majorly connect with the characters, naturally. There are only sound effects that act as the audio medium and Tapas Nayak, the sound designer fulfills his responsibilities. Sreekar Prasad’s name is an asset and he doesn't allow the audience to move out of the film. The first shot of the film has a similarity with the last shot of the film and things like this, add up in a subtle way.


VERDICT - Tolet is a beautiful movie that stands high in all departments. Don't miss it!

RATING - 3.25