Thanks to Bejoy Nambiar, we managed to catch Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Amen at a special screening in Mumbai. If you haven’t seen it yet, do watch it. ‘Great fun’ is the only way to describe this gem. Rarely is ‘fun’ attached with Godly stuff. But this one is a madcap ride, a strange collage of things which rarely come together so well.
Here’s a small recco post on the film by Amit Sharma – on the elements that made Amen such a great joyride.
To see the beautiful Kerala countryside, a village called Kumaramkary, the backwaters – colourful and idyllic in the day, and dark, lonely, mystical in the night. Eye-gasm in short.
Because it’s all around a Church and a toddy-shop, the former with its brooding, ominous, built-300-years-ago-and-may-fall-down-by-spring air, where the Reverend and sexton hatch their evil plots, and the latter with its regular haunt of drunk band-members asking for more pork and beef, and lamenting over their failures in music competitions. A strange mix.
For the totally over-the-top unapologetic humour, crafted as if the writers had no other concern in the world. Even the overlay text says things like ‘long ago in some random year xyz’. The wacky humour never leaves us, even zigzagging through the love story between the spunky Sosanna (Swathi Reddy) and the meek and unsure-of-himself Solomon (Fahadh Faasil). Girl bashing up goons with vessels, Solomon’s father’s spirit making sudden appearances in smoke-filled rooms complete with two winged angels, there’s no full stop in this crazy ride.
For the antics of the sexton Ousepp, and the menacing Reverend Father Ottapplakkan.
For Sosanna, who looks beautiful & enticing, and the scenes where Solomon serenades her with his clarinet below her window is stuff right out of Romeo & Juliet.
For Prashant Pillai’s fantastic music: the peppy title track, the mellifluous love song, the energetic clarinet duels, and the background score, all of it adding that much more to the film.
Because the film is also about a unique village band, which is on its way down after the tragic death of its star performer, and has lost all competitions ever since. You haven’t seen such a desi band story on screen.
Add to all this a music-loving young junior rockstar Reverend Vattolli, played by Indrajith, who decides to support all that is good, and oppose all that is bad in the village, and brings the band back to its glory by helping Solomon conquer his inner fears, and Bombay’s very own Makarand Deshpande, playing Chevalier Pothachan (don’t miss his hilarious entry) as the opponent in the final contest, and you’ve got an entertainer which is long, but doesn’t seem to be, and manages to make you laugh, and connects you with its emotions and music all the same.
In terms of the basic story idea and elements, there’s surely some similarity between Amen and Guca!, but the local flavours are so distinct that it completely stands out on its own.