Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum (2017) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen


The incidental pleasures that Dileesh Pothan’s film ‘Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum’ offers are many, like the sardonic wisecracks and the continual cackles, while it fundamentally holds an indelible charm inside. A luminously acted rumination on the  ifs and buts of life, ‘Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum’ has enough emotional and dramatic drive to let it qualify as a class act with exceptional intelligence and grace.


Thondimuthalum-Dhriksakshiyum-Review-Veeyen

The incidental pleasures that Dileesh Pothan’s film ‘Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum’ offers are many, like the sardonic wisecracks and the continual cackles, while it fundamentally holds an indelible charm inside. A luminously acted rumination on the  ifs and buts of life, ‘Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum’ has enough emotional and dramatic drive to let it qualify as a class act with exceptional intelligence and grace.

An inter-caste marriage prompts Prasad (Suraj Venjarammoodu) and his newly wedded wife Sreeja (Nimisha Sajayan) to shift to Kasaragod from their village near Aleppey. On a bus journey at Kasaragod, Sreeja is shaken out of her sleep by a man (Fahadh Faasil), who snatches her gold chain from behind, and on the crime being discovered, immediately swallows it. The bus is driven to the nearby Sheni police station, where cops start investigating the theft.

Thondimuthalum-Dhriksakshiyum-Review-Veeyen

Dileesh Pothan draws out the bounds of realism in his film even further without ever letting it pride itself on being so admirably substantive. And not just the living characters, it’s a unique narrative universe that Pothan creates; one that has its mood, tone and theme rooted in reality, and one that efficiently blows off even the tiniest of speculations that might arise as regards its believability.  There aren’t any thought-out attempts to amend a character’s action or twist the plot to fit in some predefined notions of realism, and it all occurs impromptu, as if it had all forever remained a part of the flow.

Without doubt, ‘Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum’ is a film that will continue to be discussed for numerous reasons, and the incredible sense of authenticity that it sports, would be just one among them. But it will also remain the raison d’etre for this tiny tale to remain eternally thankful to the film maker; for crafting the transfixing character conflict and even more importantly, for exercising timely temperance and restraint when it comes to gradually unravelling the cipher that lies embedded within the script.

Thondimuthalum-Dhriksakshiyum-Review-Veeyen

There is a kind of gluttony that a film as ‘Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum’ demands of you, as you wildly gape all over the screen as each scene gives way to the next, not wanting to miss out on a detail that has been laid out so cautiously. There are also the countless asides and overlapping bits of conversations that lend a true wholeness to this ensemble, and you budge your way right into the midst of the crowd that had gathered outside the Sheni police station, and stay put, shamelessly eager to lap up every crumb that comes your way.

It’s almost impossible to do an individual scene analysis without giving the plot away, and it would suffice to say that ‘Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum’  is tender, humorous and even vicious by turns. The wide assortment of minor characters that you find all along the way elevate the film immensely, lending it a very distinctive life unlike any other film that you might invariably be reminded of, be it the Spanish film ‘Maria, full of Grace’ or even the more recent Australian indie ‘The Mule’.

Thondimuthalum-Dhriksakshiyum-Review-Veeyen

As if the juxtaposing of two incongruent settings – a police station and a temple – weren’t enough, Pothan lets some startling character dynamics to come into play. Starting off with the fellow travellers on the bus, writers Sajeev Pazhoor and Shyam Pushkaran unfastens the lid off the character box and let them out one after the other – the stationery shopkeeper outside the police station, the sole inmate at the station cell, the SP who arrives on a sudden visit, the man concerned of his neighbour and the mobile tower next door and the several police constables – to find their small and yet vital moments in this colossal character piece.

Fahadh Faasil avows once and for all that he has an apparent penchant for troublesome roles, and his phenomenal feat in ‘Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum’ should easily serve as a practical workbook for aspiring natural actors. This is a fantastic trade-off between the character and the actor, and there is a method to his methodlessness, a manner to his airiness, that renders him a far superior performer to most of his contemporaries. Fahadh superbly pulls it off, with a dawdling manoeuvre and those condensed, forlorn and very well-defined gestures, that appear custom-made for a character that in turn, demands an actor who could at once be relatable and yet so peculiarly odd.

Thondimuthalum-Dhriksakshiyum-Review-Veeyen

There is an array of staunch performances in the film besides that of Fahadh, and leading the pack of stellar actors is none other than Suraj himself. There are the plentiful subtleties in Suraj’s fantastic underplayed act that simply cannot be missed, and debutante Nimisha Sajayan with her immaculate expressions, could very well have come up with the year’s breakout act. Alencier Lay is markedly good as the Head Constable Chandran, while newcomers Sibi Thomas as the partly menacing, partly humane Sub-Inspector Sajan and Sivadasan as the half–muttering, hardly-ever-moving Writer Sivadasan are true revelations.

Rajeev Ravi’s fly-on-the-wall cinematography is unobtrusive to the point of appearing almost non-existent, and spreads a brown tenor all over as it niftily captures its subjects in varying degrees of personal vigour.  Ravi’s camera brilliantly emphasizes the film’s fabric, motifs and hues and almost lays down a visual signature through an exhilarating combine of remarkable spatial compositions, suggestive ocular angles, and a vivacious use of darkness and light. Bijibal’s musical score is contemplative, and overwhelmingly intensive, in keeping with the timbre of the film.

Unbelievable as it might sound, Dileesh Pothan makes an entire audience sit in anxious wait, as his protagonist takes his own sweet time to, well, take a dump. And for once, you truly don’t seem to mind, since ‘Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum’ is a film that tickles, titillates and touches you, in ways that you had possibly never envisaged all this while.


 

Verdict: Must-Watch


 

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