Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum is great in so many ways. It is one of those examples of an extraordinary story featuring the most ordinary people. Police officers mumble through conversation and don’t enunciate every word as actors often do in movies. There are no real heroes or villains. Both the thief and the victims of his robbery are people struggling to simply get by in this thing called life. At times, even they seem to forget that they are supposed to be on opposite sides, like when farmer Prasad (Suraj Venjaramoodu) takes an interest in the life of the thief who stole his wife’s gold chain, Prasad PK (Fahadh Faasil), or when Prasad PK acknowledges how important the chain is to farmer Prasad and his wife, Sreeja (Nimisha Sajayan).
There are many things to remember this film by—the simple setting, the light humour, the believable characters, and the performances by the cast. Another thing that stood out for me was an action sequence that begins with Prasad PK running away from the police and ends with a physical altercation between the two Prasads in a canal.
The background score is fast-paced at the start of the sequence, leading us to expect a lot of pow-wows. Cut to a few moments later, we see that the cops and farmer Prasad have lost Prasad PK, whom we see in another act of theft, relatively petty this time—he takes a little water and soap lying outside a house to give himself a quick wash because he has been in the same clothes for over two days. So far, so anti-climactic.
When farmer Prasad finally catches up to Prasad PK, what we get is the most laughably realistic action sequence imaginable. Our Prasads have no signature moves. Each one’s best attempt is to trip the other and make him lose his footing, making use of the fact that they are in shallow water. Their feeble blows don’t come close to the onomatopoeic flash and flair of the comic-book brand of action scenes. The best part—they take breaks from fighting because they get tired and need to catch their breath.
Farmer Prasad manages to pin his namesake to a wall of the canal. The latter grabs a stone to attack but drops both stone and the plan to attack when the former says, through ragged breath, that he must have the stolen gold chain back. Prasad PK recognises in farmer Prasad a desperation to survive, the same desperation that drove him to robbery in the first place.
Action sequences are supposed to be cathartic. We enjoy seeing the good guy beat up the bad guy because the law and our good breeding do not permit us to land blows on the villains in our lives. But nothing about the action sequence in Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum feels cathartic. As the audience, we have empathised with farmer Prasad and his wife. But we have also been moved by Prasad PK’s predicament. We don’t cheer for either of them because we cannot choose a side.
And yet, we cannot say that this is an action sequence bereft of any real ‘action’. While there are no superstar-level kicks and punches, there is something much larger at play here. The end result of the pathetic blows and the laboured breathing gives us something more than catharsis: it gives us reassurance—comfort in the thought that there is some humanity left in us, some hope for redemption. And so, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum’s gift to us is one that we never imagined ourselves receiving—an utterly humane action sequence.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.