Diya / Kanam - Movie Review - FIRST ON NET -2.5/5
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Bottom Line: Sai Pallavi's fine debut that's sure to leave an impact.
After last year's disastrous venture Vanamagan, director AL Vijay, known for his family-friendly entertainers in varied genres, is back, this time with a Debutant who's already a sensation in Tamil - Sai Pallavi. With the movie being the Tamil launchpad of Sai Pallavi, better known for her act as Malar miss in Premam, and the promos promising a thriller, here's team AP Herald's first on net Diya review.
Diya begins with the couple in love Naga Shourya and Sai Pallavi in a hospital, where she undergoes an abortion. The film then moves forward by 5 years, and now the couple is married, but Sai Pallavi is still haunted by memories of the abortion and the child. In such a scenario where she's not able to lead a happy life, murders begin to happen around the couple, in a strange manner. Who's the one behind the murder, and how the couple unravels the mystery behind the murders and their connection with a spirit that haunts them is what Diya is all about!
Sai Pallavi is the life and soul of Diya, as she breathes life into the character of the young girl who enters wedlock, and faces several unfortunate situations, and ultimately ends up facing an uninvited guest. Sai Pallavi perfectly presents varied emotions like Love, anger, grief, fear, and desperation with utmost ease and is the highlight of Diya. Closely following Sai Pallavi is baby Veronica, who, with her innocent face and unexpected antics, springs a surprise with her histrionics and her part in generating scares.
Naga Shourya plays the second fiddle without much impact and is just about ok on his Tamil debut. RJ Balaji evokes laughs, and he's more of a supporting artist, and with his new weird hairdo and body language, fills the bill. In Telugu, RJ Balaji is replaced by Priyadarshi. The rest of the cast including Nithin, Nizhalgal Ravi and Rekha are adequate.
The eerie background score by Sam CS makes sure Diya generates the necessary scares and the fright impact at crucial moments of the screenplay, and of his songs, Aalalilo and Karuve are hum-worthy. Nirav Shah's cinematography is top notch, as he captures the hilly locale where Diya is set, with finesse, and raises the thrill factor, perfectly capturing the dark mood of the proceedings. Anthony's taut editing makes sure Diya is an engaging experience without unnecessary drags.
AL Vijay has been one maker who, despite issues of plagiarism or free makes, tries to deliver different products every time, and just like he had tried family entertainers, action flicks, thrillers, jungle flick and horror comedy, this time he has helmed a full-on horror movie, with a social message laced.
While the first half moves at a brisk pace with the perfect buildup for the thrill element to unwrap itself in the other half, the second half provides necessary horror elements and maintains the thrill factor throughout. While extracting an emotionally charged performance from Sai Pallavi and a neat act from baby Veronica whose character forms the crux of Diya, AL Vijay has also cleverly made sure Diya is technically superior, With Nirav Shah's cinematography and Anthony's cuts keeping the movie at a crisp 100 minutes runtime, which keeps the audience engaged and glued to the seats.
Though comparisons with Hollywood/ Korean movies of similar plots are obvious, Diya works, with AL Vijay presenting the horror element and the message in a way that can appeal to desi audience and entertains as well. All said Diya is a clean entertainer that scares.