When I walked out during the interval of the movie Valiyaperunnal to grab a cup of coffee, I heard someone in the audience say that Ittymaani was far better than this. And when the movie ended, the almost full house audience walked out without much of a response. The attempt of debutant director Dimal Dennis is to create a story about a place and a lot of characters. As I type this review, I am remembering the names, characteristics, and looks of some of the catchy characters in this movie. Valiyaperunnal is definitely not a perfect movie. But if your approach towards watching movies is passionate, it will be a very unique and exciting experience for you.
So the movie is set in the backdrop of a big scale robbery. And the people involved in that case has a direct connection with Mattanchery. Giving you a summary of what happens in the movie is a really difficult task. Valiyaperunnal is a movie that looks at the people involved in this robbery and their backdrop in an in-depth manner.
If you are someone who has watched a movie like Gangs of Wasseypur and wondered how on earth Anurag Kashyap managed to put those numerous number of characters inside our head, then I would say you are that perfect viewer Dimal Dennis looking for. Be it, Gangs of Wasseypur or our Kammattippadam, there is backtracking quality to these gangster flicks that sort of puts us in the middle of the action and leaves us to wonder about all those characters even after finishing the film. I could sense that kind of quality when I finished watching Valiyaperunnal. The movie has a running time of 3 hours and 8 minutes which is almost double the length of Prathi Poovankozhi. But I never felt distracted watching the movie. The story here is such that you can create a character map on a wall. And to be honest I will have to watch it one more time to understand every little detailing that is there in the film.
On-screen, Shane Nigam has an infectious energy and there is no doubt in my head that he is the next big thing in this industry. There is an emotional outbreak moment in the climax and that’s a scene that could have gone easily wrong in the hands of an inexperienced or less talented actor. Himika Bose as Pooja has the same energy of Shane Nigam to make us understand why they were in a relationship. There are a lot of fresh faces in this movie who are actually locals who were part of the real story which became an inspiration for this film and these characters played by them ultimately became memorable. James Elia has a major role in the film and was memorable in it. Joju George, Atul Kulkarni, Vinayakan, Soubin Shahir, and late actor Captain Raju appear in small yet pivotal roles in the film.
This is the first movie by Dimal Dennis and I must say that this is quite a brave choice for the first film. Valiyaperunnal belongs to that kind of a movie where there is abundant footage with the editor and he creates a movie out of it based on a clear script. Vivek Harshan needs to be appreciated for making it an extremely engaging watch. Valiyaperunnal has this peculiar mix of script and edit that puts us in the middle of the action and makes almost every character vividly memorable. And the academic eye for cinema in me has great respect for that. The entire first half is actually used for helping us understand each and every detail of the characters. The movie is not devoid of flaws. There are portions like that dance-off in the first half that sort of looked like a misfit. Most of the actors are not trained actors and there are portions in the movie where the dialogue delivery isn’t that great. The cinematography was nice capturing the rough shades of Mattanchery in an impressive way and Rex Vijayan makes it a perfect musical with his unique music.
Valiyaperunnal is for those who wish to have an immersive and invested viewing experience. It doesn’t have too many typical flavors to be your usual entertainer. Seeing the cold reaction of the audience along with whom I saw the movie, I kind of felt that movies like this would have been a perfect choice for a platform like Netflix or Amazon Prime where the audience will be focusing fully on having solid content. Akkar, Pacha, Sanno, Babu Sir, Chekku and many more faces are still there in my headspace and I think it’s that totality of all the elements in the movie that managed to create that kind of a feel.
To all those who simply scrolled down, read at least that last paragraph before blindly following that green signal.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended