Cast: Fahadh Fazil, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Nimish Vijayan
Director: Dileesh Pothan
Rating: 4 stars
A young woman has fallen asleep on a moving bus. From behind, a hand appears with a cutter, at first poking her neck slightly with it. She doesn't wake up. So the hands with the cutter gently lift a gold chain from around her neck and put it over the shawl on her shoulder. One right cut and the lock is undone. The chain is then slowly pulled and woven around in circles till it is completely in the hands of the man, so skillfully at work. But at the last moment the woman wakes up, just about watches him put the chain into his mouth.
Sitting among the audience, watching this crucial scene from Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, you wonder about the detailing, the moment-by-moment stretch of it, between the robber (played by Fahadh Faasil) and his victim (Nimisha Sajayan). But this is the central piece of the film, as can be guessed from the title - thondimuthal being the stolen chain, and driksakshi the girl who saw it. There may be differences of many kinds between the director, Dileesh Pothan's, first much-acclaimed Maheshinte Prathikaram and this second one. But both of them could dig their roots to one moment in the script, in this case, when the girl sees the robber.
It is a little sad that Fahadh is expected to do wonders on the screen, so when he gives yet another great performance, we nod along, we acknowledge and we pass our attention to the others. Suraj Venjaramoodu, interestingly playing the romantic of the two male leads, is also by now a veteran of serious characters. He may prefer his comedy, but he has to admit it, serious roles look really good on him. He can easily become Prasad, a young 'decent' man who falls in love with a girl after a confusing episode.
So most of your regular viewer's eyes fall on the new girl - Nimisha playing Sreeja. A regular young woman, falling in love, shunned by conventional parents, sticking to her stand. The song - Kannile Poika - that came before the film, had already given Nimisha an image, pulling off a commoner on the street with her careless gestures, wiping her face with a duppatta, or stuffing her mouth with food and laughing with mates. No overdoing, any of it. Pothan deserves all the credit here for molding a Mumbai-born to a run-in-the-mill Malayali.
Then there is the setting - most of it at a police station in Kasargode. Veteran actor Alencier and co put up an act that is, to avoid a cliché, bona fide. The interactions among themselves, the treatment of culprits, the casual handling of what might be shocking to an outsider but an everyday event to them. Pothan brings here, as in his first film, a bunch of newcomers, playing their parts beautifully.
The only detail missing for a curious viewer is a little bit of clarity into Fahadh's character. You can figure him out, putting bits and pieces of his indifferent but adorable lines and expressions, and if you are imaginative enough, guess his past. If you have to find a fault in the script it is this one line his character says to Suraj's: Evidannu kitti ithine (where did you get this) referring to Sreeja, a bit of a cliché that a filmmaker like Pothan could have done without. Music by Bijibal stays with you, moments, days after the film....