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Thirike: Malayalam Film Sets Record for Casting Actor With Down’s Syndrome in Lead Role

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Thirike, the Malayalam film written by George Kora and co-directed by Kora and Sam Xavier, set a record for casting Gopikrishnan K Varma, an actor with Down’s Syndrome, to play the lead role in a commercial film, according to the India Book of Records.

“The record for being the first Down Syndrome actor to play the lead role in a commercial movie was set by Gopikrishnan K Varma (born on July 14, 1998) of Kozhikode, Kerala. He played the lead role in the Malayalam commercial film Thirike. The film was released on February 26, 2021 on a regional OTT platform called NeeStream, as confirmed on March 27, 2021,” the certificate stated.

Neestream, on which Thirike is currently streaming, also received a certificate from the India Book of Records for streaming the film.

“This certificate is awarded to Neestream, OTT platform, for participating in record attempt ‘First Down Syndrome actor to play lead role in a commercial movie’ wherein Gopikrishnan K Varma of Kozhikode, Kerala played the lead role in the Malayalam commercial film Thirike,” the certificate issued to Neestream said.

Thirike, according to IMDb, is about “a young crafty man who kidnaps his own brother, who has Down Syndrome, from his adoptive parents in an attempt to reclaim his past.”

(Read the Silverscreen India review of Thirike here)

The film, co-directed by Kora and Sam Xavier, released on Neestream on February 26. The film was also screened at the EMS Seminar Hall in Calicut University on March 22 to mark World Down Syndrome Day (March 21). Kora, who is known for writing Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, plays the role of the younger brother, Thomas, in the film. The film also stars Sarasa Balussery and Shantikrishna in pivotal roles.

Thirike is produced by Abraham Joseph and Deepak Dileep under the banner of Nationwide Pictures and co-produced by Dijo Kurian, Ronylal James, Manu Mattamana, Sijo Peter, and Paul Karukappillil. The music has been scored by Ankit Menon while the lyrics were written by Sam Mathew. Cherin Paul was in charge of cinematography.

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