'Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum' review: a winner yet again

The familiarity of run-of-the-mill cinema provides you a kind of comfort, of being told whom to side with, whom to worship, and whom to hate. Every passing sequence only confirms what you have been told right from the start. Dileesh Pothan’s second outing Thondimuthalum Drikshakshiyum does not provide that comfort of the familiar, although there is a culprit, a victim, and a policeman who oscillate between kindness and cruelty.

When the plot kicks off, the lines are quite clear. Here is a couple, Prasad (Suraj Venjaramoodu) and Sreeja (Nimisha Sajayan), struggling to start their life together in Kasaragod, after fleeing from their home at Vaikom, following their inter-caste marriage. During a bus journey, a thief (Fahadh Fazil) steals her gold chain, which they were planning to sell out of desperation. But, from the time the victim and culprit reach the police station, where much of the film is set, the lines blur and the audience are caught in a dilemma.

Strugglers all the way

The film is populated with strugglers, all of their actions led by the sole intention of staying afloat. Among all of them, the least that we are told about is of the nameless thief, who steals even Prasad’s name. Even by the end of the film, we do not know his background, other than the fact that he lost his odd jobs due to lack of an identity card. We also know that he has known and suffered from hunger for long, just from two words he utters.

The policemen, especially constable Chandran (Alencier), who resorts to torture and other unfair means to nail the culprit, is also shown to be driven by desperation to save his job, than anything else. Sajeev Pazhoor’s script plays it intelligently and empathetically that by the fag end of it, the audience is caught in the middle, rooting for all of them. The credit here goes to the immersive performance of the lead characters. The casting, especially of the policemen, takes the cake, adding to the wholesome realistic treatment.

The story is something that could be reduced to a single column item in a newspaper, but it is fleshed out, with character studies, with peculiar situations and by drawing on the character of the locality in Kasaragod. With light touches, it brings out the nuances of evidence collection and creation and the hierarchy plays inside the police station. In such deft weaving of an engaging narrative around a wafer-thin plot, it is similar to Dileesh’s brilliant debut Maheshinte Prathikaram.

In more ways than one, Thondimuthalum... is a companion piece to that first film, which was a revenge drama shorn of all hatred, and filled with humour. It becomes a call against easy judgements in an era of mob justice and summary executions. It becomes a call for peace, love, and understanding. Dileesh Pothan has scored two winners in a row.

Starring: Suraj Venjaramoodu, Fahadh Fazil, Nimisha Sajayan, Alancier

Direction: Dileesh Pothan

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 12:47:51 PM |

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