Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum: A well-crafted, realistic venture
The director does not lose his grip over the subject and the narrative never flounders
A forewarning to the fans of 'Pothan's Brilliance': Clear whatever residue Maheshinte Prathikaram left within you before catching Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum. For, Dileesh Pothan's next has a wholly different tang. Without a spicy or satiating plot twist, the slow-paced movie hangs on something as simple as a theft, but is so realistic, raw and engaging that you are sucked into the little world of the criminal and his petty crime.
Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum takes you from a water-locked Vaikom, where Prasad (Suraj Venjaramood) falls in love with Srija (Nimisha Sajayan), to the barren Kasargod to where they leave post-marriage. During a bus journey, a thief (Fahadh Faasil) robs Srija's chain. Though she catches him red-handed, he swallows the chain in the melee. He is taken to the police station, where most of the action unfolds.
Nothing much happens by the way of plot, except the quest to retrieve the stolen chain. But, by then, we are caught in the nitti-gritties of the police station. There is a sub-inspector who takes his job seriously. But, true to Dileesh's style, he doesn't seem to sport a beefed-up body or deliver lengthy monologues. So do the remaining cops, whose immediate worry is to control the fight that might break out at a nearby temple festival or how to keep things rolling without letting their superiors step in. hey are as real as you or I can get.
Apparently, it is these characters that form the cover of the narrative. Mostly fresh faces, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum gains from their au naturel appearance. They come and leave the frame with ease, doing their jobs with conviction.
Having said that, it is Fahad who walks away with the glory, playing the thief. His characterisation shatters the mould. He steals Srija's chain and her husband's name, because "he just liked Prasad".
While his demeanour fluctuates between shrewd and naughty, Fahad keeps the cops, along with the audience, confused about what he will say or do next. He openly declares his motto is to "fight till the last moment" and at the same time he lets go without a fight when confronted with a desperate Suraj. His neatly fleshed-out character, that leaves us with enough room for contemplation, remains an enigma throughout. Shedding his sauve looks, Fahad fits into the role to the T.
Suraj and newbie Nimisha Sajayan play the husband and wife to perfection. With her fierce attitude and innocent looks, Nimisha makes a grand debut, while Suraj plays a lover, a husband and a kind soul with conviction. Dileesh has given enough space for us to explore their relationship and bask in its warmth.
But, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum inevitably belongs to Dileesh. It may not give you cheap thrills and its entertainment quotient may be debatable, but not once does the director lose his grip over the subject. Dileesh proves he is adept with his craft and ensures that the narrative never flounders.
Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum and its muddy terrains may not be for all, but it does fit into the bracket of a well-made movie.