The Mainour and the Eyewitness (Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum)

When I went to watch the movie Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum with my daughter (who was watching it for a second time), there were expectations. One, it was Dilish Pothen’s second movie – the first one being Maheshinte Prathikaaram (Mahesh’s Revenge) which I enjoyed thoroughly. Two, among other actors was my all time favorite, Fahadh Faasil. And three, going by Maheshinte Prathikaaram, I expected it to be totally realistic and a visual treat that would capture all the rustic charms of scenic locales of verdant Kerala. The movie not only fulfilled but also was beyond all my expectations. Cinemas, it is said, mirror life. Going by that I found it a brilliantly realistic movie, So much so that I joined my sister and nephew to watch the movie once again. Now this is rare – not only do I select and watch movies, never have I watched the movie on the big screen twice. That then was the magic of Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum.
Right from Scene 1 to the last frame, the build up is well thought out and executed. It was a revelation to see Suraj Venjaranmud play the role of Prasad sans comic overtures and dialectal variation. He comes across as a sensible young man, working with effortless ease donning the role of a man who falls in love, who fearlessly marries Sreeja (Nimisha Sajayan) in spite of theirs being an Inter-caste marriage and then moves far away from their village in south Kerala to north Kerala, hoping to be able to lead a peaceful life. He comes across as the man next door, harangued by the challenges of life, but nonetheless facing it with composure.
One can never believe that this is Nimisha’s first movie. She emotes her role of Sreeja with ease and grace – that of a village belle, but with enough pluck and nerve to battle the roadblocks ahead of her.
Sreeja’s father’s role is played by Vettukili Prakash and is a cameo. He comes across as a hurt and aggrieved father who is categorical that it’s him or his daughter- both together cannot stay in the same place, given the caste overtones of his daughter’s marriage. An actor who moved to cinema from the rich spaces of drama, he lives the role.
Alancier as ASI Chandran realistically mirrors the life of ordinary policemen. The system they are in does not allow them to react and respond to human predicaments. Notwithstanding that there are occasions when he sympathizes and empathizes with the beleaguered couple. He brings to life the stresses and strains of a policeman with characteristic elan – which finally gets him to request Sreeja and Prasad to admit that the chain is theirs. The couple as well as the audience is equally astounded at this turn of events.
Yet another unforgettable character is Siby Thomas as Sub Inspector Sajan. Being a policeman in real life, he is able to impart tremendous authenticity to the reel life character he plays. He portrays the entire gamut of emotions ranging from patience to agitation to anger to fury and despondency with such poise and polish lending it an air of seasoned competence.
The cynosure of the silver screen however is the masterful actor Fahadh Faasil who plays the role of the nameless thief. Right from the moment action focuses on him, he is able to rivet all attention to him. Be it saying that his name is also Prasad, to undergoing all the cruelties inflicted on him to make him admit to the crime of swallowing the gold chain, Fahadh is brilliant. His powerful eyes and the quirky smile endear him to the audience. It’s amazing to see the range of this fantastic actor who has always shown remarkable sense of choice of roles, at times even taken the calculated risk of opting for negative ones like the pimp who gets penectomised in 22 Female Kottayam. One tends to fall for the endearing thief who is seen in the last frame getting a thank you note written and posted to Sreeja, and then out into the streets of Mangalore – indicating that the is off the case that alleged him to have swallowed the stolen chain.