Review – Thondimothalum Driksakshiyum (2017) .. Pothettan shines yet again! [+79%]

Dileesh Pothan’s second venture (after the critically acclaimed ‘Maheshinte Prathikaaram’) turns out to be yet another excellent character study. The film builds itself up slowly yet steadily, with an assortment of characters each with their unique set of traits and sense of humor. At 2h 15 min, not once does the film feel like a drag. The viewer is constantly kept on toes with each passing scene. Kudos to the excellent casting choices by the crew. ‘Thondimothalum Driksakshiyum’ boasts of excellent all- round performances from the entire ensemble which comprises of a few seasoned actors such as Fahadh, Suraaj and Alencier while a good number of supporting actors are all newbies, just as in ‘Maheshinte Prathikaaram’.

It would seem disparaging if I don’t intend to applaud the extremely grounded and realistic portrayals of some of the characters such as the culprit who is handed a punishment of bringing water to the station, the Sub Inspector, some of the Constables, the cop who always walks around in mufti (plain clothes), the Circle Inspector, the shopkeeper and so on. Each character leaves a solid impression on the viewer.

Fahadh’s intro is cleverly executed (his expressive eyes convey a lot, yet can hide even more!). His character is constructed in a manner that is supposed to leave the viewer slightly baffled. Pothan ensures that he does not spoon-feed the audience in elucidating the various character arcs, instead leaves the job of construing behavioral traits and motives to the viewer. Laugh-out loud moments ensue when Alencier and Fahadh take centrestage during the interrogation scenes. The revelations made are so interestingly packaged that they seem both hilarious and believable at the time.

Suraaj and newcomer Nimisha Sajayan who play Prasad and Sreeja share good on-screen chemistry as a run-away couple who get embroiled in a chain-snatching case where Fahadh’s character (another Prasad) is the accused. What’s additionally worth noticing is the brilliant social commentary it makes on the side, while the story keeps moving forward. Instances of mob frenzy, caste discrimination, land disputes and scams are also inculcated neatly in the screenplay (penned by Sajeev Pazhoor). Dialogues by National Award Winner Syam Pushkaran are able to strike a chord with the viewer instantly. The initial scenes of how a case is handled at the police station tend to remind the viewer of Nivin Pauly starrer ‘Action Hero Biju’. But the similarity is only in the setting; the treatment is completely different.

Rajeev Ravi’s cinematography adds a dash of pragmatism to the scenes. The sepia color tone blends with the mood of the flick almost perfectly. Music and BGM by Bijibal is minimal yet effective. It is also quite intriguing to observe that the viewer is able to associate better with the comportment of each central character (especially the victim, the witness, the cop-in-charge and the accused) by the time the credits start to roll. Even the supposed exhibit (a necklace) has a specific purpose. A minimal dose of artsy ambiguity only helps.

Alencier plays A.S.I Chandran to perfection while Suraaj puts on a mature show (unlike what’s usually seen of him). Fahadh lends an eerie air to his character retaining a sense of delightful mystery throughout. ‘Thondimothalum Driksakshiyum’ is a must-watch. Keep shining Pothetta!

Watch the teaser here:

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