Ajagajantharam, Tinu Pappachan’s new film, has its moments for sure. Tinu, who has been the associate director of Lijo Jose Pellissery for a long time, uses LJP’s style in depicting chaos and violence. I am not someone who wants to see a message in films. But even the craziest of films have subtle layers of politics. Because of its peppy pace and brutal-looking action, Ajagajantharam never becomes an uninteresting film. But if you ask me whether it stayed with me for any particular reason, the answer would be no.
The annual festival in a temple is the backdrop of this story. Lali and Ambi are there with their elephant. But Lali’s short-tempered nature creates some issues with the locals. The gang of the local folks was triggered because of the humiliation they had to face from the festival committee. Lali was also in a bad mood due to another incident. How this tension between the two evolves and what all happens in it is what we see in Ajagajantharam.
The idea is extremely slim. Kichu Tellus and Vineeth Vishwam are exploring possibilities to add subplots to the narrative. The primary tussle here is between Lali and Kannan. But to make it more complex and entertaining, they have added more tracks. The Kachambar Das subplot and the whole Drama troupe track are some of those deviations Tellus and Vishwam added in the story. It occasionally created laugh-out-loud moments, and luckily it didn’t stand out. With those recreated folk songs, the energy of the movie is maintained.
Watching the climax of a movie like Angamaly Diaries, one could read how Lijo Jose Pellisserry made the world familiar for us before unleashing that climax. A similar chaotic world is the backdrop of Tinu Pappachan’s Ajagajantharam. But Tinu has this limitation: he doesn’t have too much time to establish his characters. To an extent, you become familiar with all the people in that crowd. But I don’t think the film attains the depth where people will celebrate characters like the way they did for an Angamaly Diaries. Cinematography by Jinto George largely uses the handheld method to capture the energy, and it occasionally breaks the rhythm to give us a wider perspective through a drone shot. The editing was also tidy, considering the crisscross nature of the narrative in the beginning portions.
Antony Varghese is in that familiar zone, and we see him in that same eccentric space. On the other hand, Arjun Ashokan gets a character to prove his versatility. Arjun was convincing as the ego-hurt local guy. Jaffer Idukki and Bitto Davis play the committee guys and offer some humorous moments. Writers Kichu Tellus and Vineeth Vishwam also got memorable characters. Sinoj Varghese is there in his typical comical avatar, and Tito Wilson’s Surendran didn’t blend in with the movie that smoothly.
Ajagajantharam has aspirations to be a packed chaotic thriller. And you won’t feel like discrediting the film for trying to achieve that. The way they managed to create an engaging movie from a skinny plot deserves to be appreciated. But in totality, it felt like a movie that lacked a punch.
The way they managed to create an engaging movie from a skinny plot deserves to be appreciated. But in totality, it felt like a movie that lacked a punch.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended