Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum Review: An Absorbing Tale of a Bus Journey that goes wrong
A complaint of a gold chain having been stolen is reported at a police station by a couple and the accused is in the custody of the cops but he denies having done the crime. The cops after much deliberation decide to take action and agree to have the complaint registered. While doing so the husband is asked by one of the policemen to go to a nearby shop and get the “items” required to enable the complaint registered. On reaching the shop and mentioning the requirement he is not just given a “package” but also gets to know about the nature of the cop in question, how effective he is and also that he has been sent to this place on a punishment transfer. This is just a small example of how well small town dynamics and characters are portrayed in an interesting fashion by DileeshPothan in his new film, ThondimuthalumDriksakshiyum.
Actor DileeshPothan made heads turn with his debut film as director, MaheshintePrathikaaram, a filmwhich won him both critical acclaim and commercial success. Now with his second film he reunites with FahadhFaasil and hence it was not surprising to see people expecting an encore of sorts. While the promos and the songs implied that this would perhaps be another slice of life tale, it also clearly indicated that it would perhaps be quite different in terms of the space that it belongs to. Coming closely on the heels of a rather openly commercial film like Role Models, this seemed to be a good outing for FahadhFaasil also to prove that he means serious business with films like this and Take Off and that anything else is to be looked at mostly as an aberration of sorts. Honestly speaking the primary objective behind watching the film on the first day of its release wasto check out if DileeshPothan has delivered once again and if this is another wonderful film for FahadhFaasil. But in the process I went on to realize a lot more, let me come to all that later in the post.
As the film starts we are introduced to Prasad (SurajVenjaramoodu) and Sreeja (NimishaSajayan) who hail from a town in central Kerala but relocate to Kasaragod after their inter-caste wedding. Prasad is a farmer who’s trying to start cultivation in a recently acquired tract of land but finds the going tough and realizes that he would need to have a well dug up on the land to enable cultivation. Hence Prasad and Sreeja decide to have her gold chain mortgaged and set out on a bus journey for the same without realizing that the journey would go on to affect their lives and those of many others in a way that they had never imagined. WhenSreeja feels a little sleepy, a thief (FahadhFaasil) smartly tries to steal her chain and she manages to raise an alarm as she sees him swallowing the chain in the nick of time. With all the pandemonium that follows, the bus is diverted to the police station nearby. What happens from thereon is what we get to see as the tale unfolds.
The first half of the film has its share of adequate fun moments, even as it throws light upon the romance between Prasad and Sreeja in the form of their backstory. Reminding us a bit of Action Hero Biju in terms of a realistic look at the working of a police station, this film takes it a notch higher by focusing the story primarily on the basis of what originally looks like a simple enough petty case. The writing by SajeevPazhoor is commendable and ensures that there is never a dull moment in the film, complimented bySyamPushkaran’s dialogues as well. While there was scope to make it a dark and edgy film of sorts, Dileesh prefers to keep the proceedings a tad light by infusing a subtle undercurrent of humour. It is no surprise to see Rajeev Ravi’s cinematography proving to be an asset for the film,watch out for the chase sequence where Prasad tries to pin down the thief, a superb segment in terms of the way the camera angles have been captured. The editing by Kabir Dasis also commendable, at a run time of 136 minutes the film never looks tiring and the interval segment leaves you asking for more.
A lot of new actors are noticed in the film, including real cops and that’s a good move on the part of DileeshPothan. Take for example the case of Sibi Thomas who plays the S.I very effectively.Alencier Ley Lopez shines in the role of A.S.I Chandran, his dining table conversation with his wife and the scene where he comes to the house of Prasad and Sreeja being demonstrative of his good work. NimishaSajayan is a good choice to portray the simple looking Sreeja who supports her man steadfastlyafter having fallen in love by defying her family. It is nice to see DileeshPothan going in for a role reversal of sorts by portraying SurajVenjaramoodu as more of the conventional “lead” while FahadhFaasil plays second fiddle more than comfortably for the first half of the film. Of course things even out post the interval but still it certainly requires a lot of conviction from a filmmaker’s side to take a bold casting call like this, just as it requires confidence and clarity for a popular star to commit to such an unconventional role. Both DileeshPothan and FahadhFaasilneed to be credited for their respective decisions.
While Suraj once again reminds us that he is a good actor and not someone to be utilised for mindless characters only as usually seen, Fahadh shows us that he is an actor of substance who doesn’t depend on the length of a role to leave an impact. Addressing subjects like the impact of an inter-caste marriage on the Nair-Ezhava community set up, how social media penetration into small towns is very much a reality, the difficulties faced by the police and how their woes are handled etc., DileeshPothan does extremely well in terms of executing ThondimuthalumDriksakshiyum.
ThondimuthalumDriksakshiyum is a stellar effort from DileeshPothan; it is not just a fantastic follow up of sorts to MaheshintePrathikaaram, but easily among the best of Malayalam and even Indian cinema of the year so far.