Writers: Sajeev Pazhoor, Shyam Pushkaran
DOP: Rajeev Ravi
Cast: Fahadh Faasil, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Nimisha Sajayan, Alancier Lay
The title of the film translates as ' The Stolen Good and the Witness' and it revolves around a gold chain theft that happens in a KSRTC bus where the thief promptly swallows the chain. Some people had figured out this basic plot by interpreting the poster itself and it is no big spoiler that anyway as it happens in the beginning part of the film itself.
Dileesh Pothan's debut feature Maheshinte Prathikaaram was one I watched first day first show itself having not seen the trailer and was completely blown away by it. The only thing I could go by was the title of the film which made me expecting it to be a revenge thriller kind of film. This false expectation actually made me enjoy the film more as I was continuously surprised by it even as I was dreading something bad to happen. I went on to watch it three more times at the cinemas and 2-3 times on small screen as well. It was a film marked by extreme detailing and very realistic and authentic settings and surroundings. Still some of the humour in it is a bit skit like in nature and somewhat cinematic.
We've since had Angamaly Diaries which I reckon is slightly superior to Maheshinte Prathikaaram. One way to know whether the DVD of a Malayalam film is released is by the sudden influx of film's visuals in troll pages. Maheshinte Prathikaaram was heavily used and still used these days in troll pages while Angamaly Diaries hardly created a flutter there, surprisingly enough. Come to think of it, that is testament to the difference in the nature of humour in both these films.
Coming back to this film, the only thing they did as part of promotion was the release of a very short teaser and a video song. The expectations of a thriller that I had when I watched MP was met in this film with the second half working more like a social thriller. Rajeev Ravi is the DOP of the film and the second half of the film works more like his kind of films with it being a commentary on the systematic corruption in India even though it doesn't do any good for any indulging in it at lower levels. It gets pretty intense even though there is plenty of humour being thrown in intermittently. It is a much more adult film in its treatment than MP and it is best advised to see it without any preconceived notions like the director himself has been stressing during his interviews.
When the project was initially conceived Fahadh was supposed to play the husband and Soubin Shahir the thief. When the latter dropped out Fahadh took the role of thief and Suraj came in as the husband. Casting is pretty much spot on but you do see the hangover from Action Hero Biju in Suraj's portrayal. There are many newcomers portraying various roles and many real-life policemen were also cast. Overall, it is another great one from Dileesh Pothan. It might not have the same rewatchability factor going for it as it did for MP, but the sync-sound coupled with difficult Kasargode slang will certainly ensure plenty of re-viewing. Shyam Pushkaran has been given an added credit as creative director, curiously. It might not do as well as MP at box office but in terms of quality it is not that far off.
PS: When the show ended, I realised that Alancier Lay was also among the audience. His role is also pretty much as important as Fahadh's and Suraj's as the corruption angle is explored from these three perspectives.