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Nov 9, 2017

Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum

Dileesh Pothan is creating a new genre in Malayalam cinema with his unique story telling style. His main narrative builds up towards a simple event or two, establishing protagonists and their relationships. Nothing special there. What set Pothan apart are the nuggets of micro stories, mined observing the human condition in all its informal familiarity and strung together to aid the natural progression of the narrative. Every scene is like a gem of flash fiction. It almost seems super human that the writer/director could link and insert these vignettes cohesively into an engaging cinematic account.

Pothan's maiden outing as a director, Maheshinte Prathikaram, introduced us to his distinctive technique. In Thondimuthalum Druksakshiyum he hones it further. This film is raw, plucked right off the tree of life, seconds ago. Even the minute traces of glaze in packaging which would have been a prerequisite to hit the box-office bulls-eye for a first-timer have been stripped away in this second movie.

His casting, which has included Fahadh Fazil as his chameleonic cornerstone, has brought some unconventional and promising faces to Malayalam cinema. Aparna Balamurali in Maheshinte Prathikaram is followed by Nimisha Sajayan in Thondimuthalum Druksakshiyum - both offbeat and talented leading ladies perfectly fitting the film's territory.

Suraj Venjaramoottil and Fahadh Fazil have let go of themselves like clay, impeccably molded just as the characters should be at the hands of the director. There is no question that this is exactly how we would find them in real life, had these people really existed. The entire crew at the police station, where most of the action takes place, has given outstanding performance especially considering all of them are not professional actors but real officers of the law (except for Alencier Ley Lopez.)

The treatment of the film is very gritty, like an episode of reality TV if reality TV was not scripted the way it is. LOL. The director also displays a certain trust in the audience's comprehension abilities. There is an absolute lack of spin or manipulation in the depiction of events. The viewer is left with the task of deriving meaning and closure although there is no sense of incompleteness. Life goes on - in real and in reel.