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Movie Review: Amen - A Divine Comedy (Must Watch!!!!)

It is seldom that I get the privilege to share a movie with you that I can genuinely call a must watch. Lijo Jose Pellissery's Amen certainly fits the bill! Starting from the catchy title tune (Aatmavil thinkal kulir... has been the all-pervasive tune in my home for three days now) and lovely, quirky graphics, I was hooked and ready for a joyful two and a half hours.

This movie is testament of the fact that the story can be as old and cliched as the hills, but the treatment can make the movie. The story takes place in a fictional Kuttanad village, Kumarankari. It centers around the St. Geevarghese Church diocese, especially the church band which was once very famous, but has been humiliatingly defeated by other bands in the New Year competition. At the fringes of this band, Solomon (Fahad Fazil) lurks, pleading for a chance to perform although so far all he has to show is his departed father's prowess as an unmatched clarinet player. Predictably, his sole supporter and beloved Sosanna (Swati Reddy) belongs to one of the richest and most influential families in the parish.

Things take an ugly turn after yet another humiliating defeat in the annual band competition and Fr. Ottaplacken (Joy Thomas) decides to give the band a decent burial. This is the cue for the entry of the hip, young curate Vincent Vattoli (Indrajith). But is his intervention enough to save the band? A young curate has his limits when dealing with the higher echleons, Vattoli soon finds out. Can Solomon ever get over his stage fright? Will the ever-troublesome Vishakkol succeed in his sabotaging efforts? Will the centuries-old church building be demolished by vested interests? You may know the answers to all these questions, but I was certainly willing to put it all away to see how the story would play out.

Highlights: Joy Thomas as Fr. Ottaplacken - the slight squint of his light-colored eyes added to his spookiness. Truly gives one the creeps. Fahad as the repressed genius Solomon. 

Lowlights: A few instances of bathroom humor, one or two needlessly elongated scenes. But these were tiny flaws in the gem.

Biggest highlight: The camera by Abhinandan Ramanujam (Who is he? Where was he till now???) He presents the best views of our Kuttanad after what we saw in Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya. Simply superb. If for nothing else, go to see Kuttanad as you have never seen it before. You will agree with S.K. Pottekad that Venice is nothing before it.

This movie certainly makes my "must have in DVD collection" category.

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