The archetype of the good thief and his adventures take a realistic, yet entertaining, form in Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, the second directorial outing of Dileesh Pothan.
The tale of a theft, which the cops first downplay and later scale up as a robbery, is intertwined with the lives of at least four people so much so that you may find it difficult to pinpoint one character as the protagonist.
Set in a Kasaragod village, after a few sequences along the backwaters of Alappuzha, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum is, to say the least, a textbook in realism in contemporary Malayalam cinema. The film, a simple and linear narrative, chronicles a couple of days in the lives of two Prasads (Suraj Venjaramood and Fahadh Faasil), Sreeja (Nimisha Sajayan) and a few cops, including constable Chandran (Alencier).
After an inter-caste marriage, through which the not-so-visible psychological clashes between the nairs and ezhavas in central Travancore are subtly portrayed, Prasad (Suraj) and Sreeja attempt to start their new life together in Kasargod. A young smartass thief joins them in a bus journey during which he steals not only Sreeja's gold chain but Prasad's name also.
What follows are the struggling couple's attempt to get back their stolen assets to which the thief reacts ruthlessly. As the case turns a prestigious issue for the cops, the film becomes a truly realistic police drama, which is a perfect anti-thesis for another Malayalam film, which was hugely hailed as a realistic turn on police life.
Being the return of Fahadh-Pothan combo after blockbuster Maheshinte Prathikaram, the film is obviously burdened with great expectations. In terms of plot, performance and craft, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum lives up to the hopes, albeit with a few laggard sequences in the second half.
As expected in a film from Pothan, especially when celebrated writer Shyam Pushkaran dons the role of creative director, situation comedy is the strength of the film. Tiny moments of laughter, which occur at regular intervals, keep the narrative flowing even as the film tries to address larger issues such as one's search for an official identity, the multiple faces of the agencies of law and order and casteism that forces silent displacement. While Fahadh, Suraj and Alencier vie with each other to top each of their performances, a bunch of newcomers, including Nimisha and the actor who played the sub inspector, deserve a huge round of applause for the matured display of their talents.
Sajeev Pazhoor, who has penned off-beat ventures such as Swapaanam and Swayam, promises to offer much more to the entertainment industry in future with his neatly-written script.
What one expects from Rajeev Ravi is very much fulfilled as his camera perfectly captures the brownish realistic frames, which makes use of moderate lights. As composer of three beautiful tracks and a sophistic background score, Bijibal repeats his magic.
If portrayal of complex human conditions in which good and bad spill over boxes of binaries is one of your yardsticks to measure an artwork, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum is all yours.