Thursday, 26 April 2018

Diya: It isn't horror, yet paranormal

A horror movie does not need to be a spine-chilling one, but also can push the hormones of emotions and relationships of those who spectate, is what filmmaker AL Vijay has tried to prove through the plot of Diya(previously Karu).

A notable debut for Sai Pallavi in Tamil, this movie has a handful of characters played by Naga Shourya, Veronika Arora, Gandhari Nithin, RJ Balaji, Rekha and Nizhalgal Ravi. But, it mostly revolves around the characters owned by Sai Pallavi and Veronika, who play a mother and daughter.

In the row of simple revenge-horror tales, Diya has come out as a supernatural-family drama with an ounce of revenge. However, the director has made a point to justify, that is stark unrelatable to the revenge sequences of usual horror flicks.

Raising some serious questions about premarital pregnancy and an apparent abortion, this movie is likely to be one of its kind in setting up a coherent paranormal plot. A step ahead, the mother-daughter relationship and the metaphors that are carried along the way are handled by the writer AL Vijay with an utmost subtlety. But, as a director, there seems to be quiet a lot of struggles for Vijay to execute the same.

There are some awe moments too in the film and some humour lines. The medium of communication between the mother and the daughter is totally melodramatic where composer Sam CS has done a musical illusion. There is a scene in front of a wardrobe mirror, where the daughter replicates her mother like any other family drama. But, for Diya, that is something creating a goosebump for its audience. The filmmaker has to be appreciated for choosing the plot and making these scenes to elevate it.

Dialogues like "First night ah da ithu unaku?" and "Death certificate kooda Aadhar card ah attach pannalaya?" fade in and fade out to create some LoL moments. But, there are some dialogues of RJ Balaji that are, evidently, imposed humour, and fail to make us guffaw. Why did he become a serious police officer in the first place? I was not ready da, for another Kaatru Veliyidai.

By the same token is the character of Santhana Bharathi, who has hardly three dialogues the entire time. But, he has an ideal Tamil cinema villain's intro, who visits the hero to warn him and leave in a time less than even two minutes. It was like, seriously? Did you come all way in a Mercedes SUV to this puny aprise? You could have spoken a few more long lines to at least to make the Mercedes worthy enough. And, for no reason, he transforms into a good soul all of a sudden. At that point, I felt like, "Give him some time, Vijay. At least the time of an MGR movie villain."

On the other hand, the movie's emotion is totally in grip because of the performances of Sai Pallavi and Veronika. The scene where Pallavi finds her daughter, forsooth, is around and in the second half where she has to balance the love between the father and daughter, Pallavi effectuates with her subtle performance.

When it comes to Veronika, the girl's presence is throughout, but with a very limited number of dialogues, rather, they are just words. It is all in the eyes of Veronika, where she performs. Whenever plotting the next victim, it sparks a little horror embedded in a drama.

Adding a colour to this is the shutterbug Nirav Shah, on whom the director has totally put his trust. To film a paranormal movie without a single sequence in dark, and with an angel-like kid, Nirav could be his only option, I believe.

The metaphorical deaths of every victim in a confined environment with the least possibility to breathe are those that carry the message of Diya. Yet, the too dramatic sequence and highly predictable second half propagate Diya through falling graph every now and then. But, one simply thinks twice before making an attempt to have a premarital intercourse(without a condom), after watching this flick, for sure.

It was obvious for a Vijay movie to be dramatic, but not this much. But, unlike father-daughter of Deivathirumagal, this mother-daughter of Diya does not come up to scratch in terms of filling your eyes with tears.

If you, still, really wanna cry over an AL Vijay's mother-daughter love plot, I have a suggestion. Imagine the cast of Deivathirumagal with Vikram in the disguise, he had in Kanthaswamy, of a woman, and watch the courtroom drama. Now cry as much as you want. Simple!

- Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, April 26, 2018

This viewer's note is completely based on the perceptions of Santhosh Mathevan alone. This does not reflect the views of two or more people or a community. Queries and criticism shall be addressed to the writer only.