Along with "Varsham", another film that had graced the screens of Bangalore was "Iyobinte Pusthakam" which had made people sit up with its classy trailer & catchy posters. Frankly speaking, I was kinda circumspect when I realised that it was Amal Neerad who was calling the shots. Well he was only to blame as his films oozed style but lacked substance. But with Fahad Fazil pitching in money with the former, it instilled hope that this could be a whole different experience or was it ???
The film unfolds in the era when the nation has been gripped by the declaration of Emergency, at which point a comrade (T.G Ravi) decides to pen down the turmoil that Munnar had experienced in the pre-Independence period. The tale begins from the time a British tea planter, Harrison (Sal Yusuf) set eyes on his slave who he rechristens as Iyob (Lal) & makes him his aid. After Harrison's estranged wife returns to Britain, he gets enticed by Kazhali (Lena), who was rumored to be a sorceress. In the meantime, Iyob gets married to Annamma (Reenu Mathews) & takes over the reins of Harrison's empire by force, though the latter had it in his will that it should be handed over to Kazhali & their daughter, Martha (Isha Sharwani). Iyob's reign of terror further entrenched the hills as his elder sons proved to be the incarnation of evil which was despised by his youngest son, Aloshy (Fahad Fasil) who flees from his household & joins the British Royal Navy. Years later, Aloshy returns to his home only to learn that his fathers & brothers has transgressed all limits of humanity. Will Aloshy flee yet again or will he have the guts to stand his ground against his own blood ???
Amal Neerad's films has never been devoid of technical brilliance & it's pretty much the same scenario here as well, as the frames looks absolutely fantastic. Gopan Chidambaram's story might not blow your socks off but the screenplay that he has weaved along with Syam Pushkaran will surely do. All the characters has been well etched with each one having a credible role in the script & that's exactly the reason why we get totally immersed into this tale of deceit & lust. If at all, I have been irked with something then it has to be the positioning of the songs which disturbs the tempo of the movie. However, Neha Nair & Yakzan Gary deserves praise for their BGM & music which was soothing to the ears. The art department also deserves a pat on their back.
It's difficult to say as to who was the best among the lot, as each one has done utmost justice to their role. However, the ever improving Jayasurya is the one who wins my vote for his superlative portrayal of the antagonist, Rawther. Fahad Fazil was fantastic as always along with Lal & Vinayakan, while there couldnt have been a better choice than Chemban Vinod & Jinu Joseph, as Iyob's sons. Among the female leads, I was initially surprised why Padmapriya had chosen this role as she barely had dialogues but I was made to eat my words as she showcased her caliber as the movie progressed. The rest of the cast seemed fine, be it Lena, Isha etc., while Amala Paul's item number seemed out of place.
Verdict: If Amal Neerad keeps up the good work with a credible script each time, then I believe he has what it takes to last the distance. It's definitely one of the best movies that I had watched this year as the cast & crew has pretty much aced it. In short, make sure you dont miss it!!!