Curiosity and excitement for any project bearing the name of enigmatic director Lijo Jose Pellissery is par for course as his movies have been almost as much of a cultural talking point as his avant-garde film-making itself.
For the same reason, there was much buzz and fanfare surrounding his fifth directorial venture, Angamaly Diaries, and rightly so, because if this man comes in and talks about blowing you away, he makes sure that he does just that.
Shot flawlessly, Angamaly Diaries is a gritty, raw, no-frills affair, which beautifully captures the zeitgeist of Angamaly through the life and times of Vincent Pepe (Antony Varghese).
Exclusive: We've tracked down Vincent Peppe from Angamaly Diaries
A narrative borne out of the narrow by-lanes of Angamaly, the movie renders a new face and character to this quaint town and people, who define themselves by their love for pork dishes.
But if you thought Angamaly Diaries is a story put together to shine spotlight on a place, you are wrong. The carefully deliberated screenplay by Chemban Vinod Jose is a treat by itself and had we not known it beforehand, one wonders if a viewer would ever realize that the actor was having a go at script writing for the very first time.
The film opens with a particular day in the life of the protagonist, Vincent Pepe – an average Joe who never misses the Sunday Mass, boozes like a boss and falls in love by habit. The non-linear narrative takes you to the childhood and teenage years of Pepe, who holds a fascination for two things – food and football (read Babuji – local football player).
Driven by Babuji's antics, Pepe builds a gang called 'Palliangadi', which comprises Bheeman (Vineeth Vishwam), Kichu aka Pork Varkey (Githin), Kanakuna Marty (Ananthu PM) and Parippu Marty (Sreekanth Dasan). Angamaly Diaries follows the escapades of these 'Palliangadi' dudes.
Antony as Pepe is a charmer worth swooning over even with his unsophisticated looks. The actor does justice to his role and endears himself to the viewers with his natural acting. Bonus points for his smile.
The casting director deserves a special round of applause for finding these many talented newbies. With 85 new faces, the freshness Pellissery brings to the reel is mind boggling.
The minute detailing of the auteur, along with Prashanth Pillai's music and Girish Gangadharan's frames, makes Angamaly Diaries a movie that will stand the test of time.
If Pellissery courted magical fantasy in Amen, he fiddles with rustic realism in Angamaly Diaries. Angamaly Diaries is not a gangster movie, rather it's a chapter in the life of Angamalians filled with moments of human touch.