Anjala - Weak handling of a Heartwarming story
If you are familiar with Malayalam cinema you would know that they make a lot of films that are grounded and close to their lives. The crux would sometimes be so simple that you wonder whether it could be made as a feature film. But a film is about its individual moments and how these moments are conceived and connected. Pannaiyarum Padminiyum is a film that comes to mind. Trying to tread a similar path is Anjala.
A good natured individual running a tea shop faces some hurdles.
Pasupathy is very good at few places and also comes across a tad artificial at a few. It is good to see a character actor being given the lead role in a mainstream film.Yes! Pasupathy is the protagonist of Anjala and Vimal plays second fiddle. Playing a small town guy has never been a problem to Vimal. It is only when he stepped out of his comfort zone that he had come across as wanting a few times.
Anjala is home ground and Vimal is at ease. The rest of the cast are just about ordinary for want of a better word.
Hits and Misses:
The best thing about Anjala is the content. It is about the bonding that Pasupathy has with his tea stall which was built by his grandfather in the pre-independence era. It is not everyday that you get a plot like this.The film has(atleast on paper) some very good moments. These moments are about the relationship of the inhabitants of the tea stall with Pasupathy and with the people around.
A car loses control and bumps into the tea shop hurting a few. The man on the driving seat is a Bank manager. The immediate reaction to such a scenario would be that he is evil and was careless.
But the film shows this as a genuine accident and how good sense can prevail if you are calm and composed and believe in good. There are many such fine moments. But the problem is they really are not that 'fine' on screen.The narrative is rushed, the acting is loud or hurried or melodramatic or amateurish and the supposedly funny scenes fall flat. And this is disappointing considering that the film has its heart in the right place. Even the climax is well written. It ends on a positive note but not the one you are expecting. Something very dear is lost and yet things move on. Emotional connect will always remain and physical belongings are just means to establish it.
Anjala is an honest attempt with an excellent intent. But intent alone never suffices.