There is a significant tension that hangs through the movie making you excite what would happen next. There are really thrilling moments that bring you to the edge of your seats. There is humor that brings smile on your faces. There is rawness and realism in the treatment. Finally there is thorough entertainment. To combine all these perfectly is nothing short of genius. Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Angamaly Diaries is a milestone in Malayalam Cinema.
Angamaly Diaries has a pretty simple story but Chemban Vinod’s screenplay is a winner with never a dull moment in its 2 hour 12 minutes. Few things really strike you about Chemban’s writing. First there is enough humor laced throughout that eases you even during the tense scenes. Two guys losing their patience and interfering during a cremation would bring the house down. So would Vincent Pepe’s first fight scene when he uses Babuji’s advise on how to beat one guy after another.
Second there is much thought and effort put in developing the friction between the gangs of Vincent Pepe and Appani Ravi. There is continuous tension in the air as there are moments where you feel they would compromise ,but then again they end up in tussle. Third and the most impressive is that the hero and villain are not white and black as you see in most movies. There are grey in both sides and there are issues which are consequences of actions from both ends.
Despite a great screenplay, the movie would have still fallen flat if not for a great cast. This is where I am still startled by how 86 newcomers have held your attention for 2 hours without a single misstep from anyone. Antony Varghese who plays Vincent Pepe is a an absolutely great find. He has great screen presence. He brings in humor seamlessly during his narration. He looks natural when romancing. He is equally effective in the tense scenes too.
Sarath Kumar as Appani Ravi is brilliant. His ability to deliver lengthy dialogues fiercely without wavering for a second is an astonishing feat for a newcomer. The one where he gets angry with his wife and brother in law is one such notable instance. The stare he and Antony share in their first meet in the flashback is among the best scenes in the movie. Among others, the actors who play “10 ml Thomas” and “Kunjootty” leave a mark. Finally Reshma Rajan as Lichi makes sure not only men took all the credits.
Gireesh Ganghadharan walks with his camera when the actors walk. He runs when they run. Through the last 11 minutes , he doesn’t even keep the camera down as he follows the actors relentlessly for one single shot. The end results are gratifying as the movie offers a never before seen visual experience in Malayalam Cinema. You blink, you would miss a terrific visual. Prashant Pillai’s background score suits the movie to a T. His use of the screeching sound during the movie’s tense scenes adds a lot to the overall impact. Among songs, “Theeyame”, “Ayalathe” and “Do Naina” are enjoyable.
Angamaly Diaries is a reminder to why the director is the captain of the ship in movies. For someone who edited also Oru Mexican Aparatha on same day, you see a vast difference here in Shameer Mohammed’s work clearly showing Lijo Jose Pellissery’s influence. “No plans to impress. No plans to change” is what Lijo said after the debacle of Double Barrel. Angamaly Diaries is the proof Lijo hasn’t changed really. This is only one step for the director. But in how it has made a raw and realistic movie so racy and entertaining with all newcomers, it is one leap for Malayalam Cinema.