Toby: Unveiling Layers of Innocence and Darkness

"In the coastal village of Thamas Katte, 'Toby' unveils a complex man's innocence and darkness, entwined in a web of secrets. As newly appointed inspector Sampath delves into Toby's enigmatic life, a powerful journey of emotions, relationships, and unexpected twists unfolds."



Toby movie review (2023)

In the picturesque village of Thamas Katte, nestled along the coastal stretches of Karnataka, a captivating tale of innocence and darkness unfolds in the movie “Toby.” The film, directed by Raj B Shetty, delves into the intricate layers of its characters, delivering a mixture of emotions that both captivates and leaves the audience wanting more.

The story revolves around Toby (played by Raj B Shetty), a seemingly innocuous man with an unconventional and enigmatic past. Despite his outward demeanor, Toby has an unsettling reputation as a murderer-for-hire, often manipulated by the village chief Ananda (Deepak Shetty). However, the narrative takes an unexpected twist when Ananda interferes with Toby’s cherished possession, Jenny (Chaitra J Achar), thereby awakening a dormant beast within him.

The film takes off as newly appointed station inspector Sampath (Bharath GB) arrives in Thamas Katte, coinciding with the village’s preparations for the Maari jatre festival. A central point of intrigue emerges when Jenny seeks help in finding her missing father, Toby. Sampath, fascinated by Jenny’s distinctive attire, embarks on a journey to uncover the truth about Toby. The villagers are divided in their perceptions of him, referring to him as both a ‘Shaitan’ (devil) and a naive angel. This dichotomy poses a compelling question: can these opposing facets coexist within a single individual, or is there more to be uncovered beneath the surface?

Toby’s origins trace back to his abandonment as a child. His life has been marked by constant struggles for survival, and a traumatic incident in his past left him voiceless. The local church’s Father Iglesias (Yogi Banekshwar) becomes the first person to extend affection and acceptance to Toby. Over time, Toby forms a unique circle of individuals who comprehend the words behind his silence: Father Iglesias, Damodara (Gopalkrishna Deshapande), a mortuary worker, and Jenny, whom he rescued as an infant by the pond and embraced as his own. This cocoon of companionship brings him solace, until Ananda’s intrusion disrupts this fragile equilibrium.

At its core, “Toby” thrives on stellar performances and technical finesse. Raj B Shetty’s portrayal of Toby is nothing short of extraordinary, as he commands the screen with a powerful and genuine presence. Despite having no dialogues, his acting bridges the gap between languages and emotions. The film’s writer, Raj B Shetty, equally shines by crafting multi-dimensional scenes that add depth and complexity to the narrative. Chaitra J Achar delivers an exceptional performance as Jenny, a strong woman burdened with the responsibility of caring for Toby, whose innocence often leads to misfortune. Their performances blur the line between fiction and reality, drawing the audience into their world.

The film’s scenes are artistically captivating, enhanced by Praveen Shriyan’s cinematography that lends additional layers to the storytelling. Wide shots beautifully capture the village’s natural beauty while juxtaposing it with Toby’s inner brutality. Composer Midhun Mukundan’s contribution is noteworthy, with unsung melodies that seamlessly merge with the film’s fabric. These songs remain a hidden treasure, revealed only on the big screen, adding a touch of enchantment.

“Toby” defies conventional genre classification, offering a blend of various elements. However, the film’s leisurely pacing becomes a significant drawback, coupled with a predictable premise. The absence of surprise and an anticipated climax, partly unveiled in the trailer, hinder the film from delivering a cathartic conclusion. The climax, which builds up impressively, falls short in execution.

In a subtle analogy, Toby is likened to the village’s Maari Gudi, a temple honoring the goddess who protects the village but unleashes destruction when angered. Toby’s nature mirrors this duality, embodying both innocence and darkness.

In conclusion, “Toby” provides a compelling cinematic experience, though it leaves viewers yearning for more depth. A noteworthy nod to Garuda Gamana fans within the Raj-verse adds an extra layer of delight. Through a masterful blend of performances and technical elements, the film delves into the intricate interplay of innocence and darkness, ultimately raising questions about the complexity of human nature.


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Country: India

Genre: , ,

Director: Basil Alchalakkal

Writter: Raj B. Shetty

Actors: Chaithra J Achar, Gopalkrishna Deshpande, Samyuktha Hornadu

Duration: 2h 35m