The glad news folks, is that Lal Jose is back, and how! A deeply moving, illuminating and inspirational drama on love and the sense of loss, 'Diamond Necklace' is the most profound film that the director has gifted us with, as yet.
Dr. Arun (Fahad Fazil) is one of those many youngsters based in Dubai, who has been for long, living beyond his means, awestruck by the sights and scenes that the magical city has on offer. The squanderer however has a way with women, and before long has the fresh nursing assistant Lekshmi (Gauthami Nair) dancing to his tunes.
In 'Diamond Necklace', there is an open-ended exploration of everything that could possibly go wrong in a youngster's life as well as the lives of those with whom he connects at different planes. It's ironic that Dr. Arun is repeatedly commented for the positivism that his demeanor generates and yet the tragedy in his life seems a bit too contagious, stealthily spreading across to those vying for his affection.
The three women in his life - Lekshmi, Maya (Samvrutha Sunil) and Rajasree (Anusree) - aren't women who suffer from an identity crisis. Nor are they perplexed individuals who aren't sure as to what they want from their lives. On the contrary all three of them share a commonality in that their personal journals would carry a story about love and the trauma of simply being in love.
I'm sure we might differ quite a bit here, but Maya does emerge the toughest one among the lot, living the moment and simply refusing to bow down before the plans that have already been laid out before her. Lekshmi is impressive for not having turned out into a vengeful demon at being spurned; she's poised in the face a calamity, and moves elegantly ahead picking up whatever is left in her life. And Rajasree retains the quintessential essence of being a woman, and turns out to be the most endearing among the three of them!
Lal Jose's take on relationships in the film is charming and occasionally insightful. It's on his individual characters that he banks on, to craft this delightful romantic tale of a man who has walked quite a long way along the path of self-destruction. In doing so, the director leaves in tact the labyrinthine emotions that come to play.
It's interesting to see a structural resilience emerging gradually out of the narrative that starts off quite modestly. Some very familiar ideas converge together to a cohesive whole, and the transformation makes you feel good. Its refreshing to see the film sidestepping stereotypes, and focusing instead on the deeply humanistic story that it intends to tell.
Perhaps for a brief while, the film does tend to get a bit didactic when there is an attempt to draw in a second layer of a moral fable beneath the main story, where Venu (Sreenivasan), a family friend of Arun's takes the lead. There are suggestions that love abounds when you are poor, and the multimillionaire patient in the cancer ward further emphasizes that it all comes down to a sick bed eventually.
This is a film that could easily brag of inspiring performances from its relatively fresh and young cast. Fahad is imposing as the oncologist who realizes a bit too late, that the malignancy within his mind has spread far and wide. Samvrutha delivers a career best perhaps, and as a bonus looks gorgeous! The surprise packets of the film however are Gauthami Nair and Anusree; the former having come up with a delightful performance that is at once controlled and striking, and the latter for her spontaneity that is downright astounding!
How could I complete writing this review, without mentioning Sameer Thahir, who is without doubt, one of the best cinematographers we have these days. And the result is that Diamond Necklace looks visually stunning whether it be out in the hot Dubai deserts, or in the cool confines of a studio flat. Hats off Sameer, for the visual elegance that you have brought to the piece. And of course to Vidyasagar for those lilting melodies, with 'Nilaamalare...' leading the lot.
'Diamond Necklace' is a tender and hypnotically moving film, the serenity of which is quite deceptive. Underlying its silent sparkle is a fascinating tale, and the discerning viewer who can read between the lines, could unearth layers of meaning beneath its glint!