Jury chairman Shekhar Kapur may have found it a bit difficult to pronounce Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum but he heaped praise on the Malayalam film.
“Brilliant film, impressive performance. First you will think it is a simple film with usual romance and elopement. But how subtle are the things introduced in the film? The movie takes a serious turn by the end, leaving you appalled. I have never seen such an excellent performance by actors,” he said during the announcement of awards—a moment which exposed the cinema buff in Kapur.
Watching a film that doesn't require much mental exercise is a rare thing today. The film world is pursuing novel experiments. Kapur's words are an answer to those who might wonder about the significance of a low-budget film set in a village in the era of magnum opuses like Baahubali I and II.
Simple films offer hearty appreciation, and it is true in the case of Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum. As the film progresses, it leaves an impression among the audience that they are watching real lives on the screen. The film talks about several instances that form a real picture of Kerala's society; this is enough to communicate with the audience. Caste-injected minds as well as a penchant for finding fault with others are a few to mention.
The story of the film revolves around a theft and the ensuing events. The audience simultaneously become both plaintiff and defendant. Who will I stand by? Who is right and wrong? The film even makes you redefine the concept of right and wrong.
Looking at it from the backdrop of present-day Kerala, the film depicts the popular impression about a police station. When the accused was brutally beaten up in police custody, the petitioner says: Ini thallanda sir, ente mala kittiyillenkilum prasnamilla. [Don't beat him up further sir, it doesn't matter even if I don't get my gold chain back]. The police officer responds: “Thallunnonnumilla, ithokke avar krithyamayi manage cheythukollum [We're not beating him. All this will be handled correctly]. The moment where reel turns real.
This Dileesh Pothan film has bagged three national awards—best Malayalam film, best original screenplay and best supporting actor. This is the second national recognition for Pothan. His 2016 film Maheshinte Prathikaram had bagged the award for best Malayalam film. The successive awards prove the brilliancy of Pothan as a director.
The major highlight of the film is undoubtedly the realistic performance of its actors. Fahadh Faasil and Suraj Venjaramoodu have given a stellar performance in the film; Fahadh's character of a thief will be etched into your mind forever. Fahadh is a synonym for natural acting. He is taking strides into the list of actors who have become the pride of Malayalis. The best supporting actor award is just the beginning.