History: A young sub-inspector takes charge of a 16-year-old case that revolves around the homicide of a newlywed couple. During the course of the investigation with his colleague, he discovers that the murder has a connection to a mysterious bus accident that claimed the lives of many people. But what astonishes him is the fact that the bus accident case, which remains unsolved after a decade and a half, has played a crucial role in his life. He realizes that the case is beginning to affect him emotionally. Will he be able to tackle the complex situation and uncover the suspects?
Check: Arulnithi is known to have a knack for picking suspenseful stories with extensive twists and turns. However, the two outings he had earlier this year, D Block and Dejavu, were unimpressive compared to some of the riveting mystery thrillers he’s been a part of.
Diary seems a little better when it starts, thanks to its unique plot and suspenseful moments, but ends up becoming a half-hearted thriller that impresses only in parts.
The film directed by newcomer Innasi Pandiyan opens with Varadha (Arulnithi), a new sub-inspector, dealing with a case involving the murder of a young couple that took place in Ooty 16 years ago. She approaches Pavitra Krishna (Pavithra Marimuthu), the policeman in charge of the Ooty Police Station, and seeks her help on the case.
The two come up with interesting inferences and learn that three culprits, who are associated with the case, have boarded a bus from Ooty to Coimbatore. Varadha manages to board the bus, but little did he know that he has several unexpected things to handle inside the vehicle full of passengers.
A newspaper poster
Diary is a classic example of a movie that has an intriguing premise that runs amok after the plot unfolds with the introduction of various characters. There are some interesting ideas and uninspiring subplots. The script is nice enough until the criminals behind the murder board the bus, but the story progression goes downhill after some irrelevant characters enter the picture.
The way a sense of terror is incorporated during the overnight bus ride, albeit without much purpose, is entertaining to a degree. But the supposedly comedic clue involving a young man (played by Sha Ra) on his way to meet his mistress dilutes the sincerity of the main plot. Some of his one-liners aren’t bad, but they would have worked better in a movie of a different genre and mood.
Very similar is the way Chaams’ character has been designed. He appears in a few unimportant sequences early on and tries hard to be a sidekick to the hero, but disappears once the plot thickens.
The less said about the female lead, the better, as Pavithra doesn’t have much to do in the story, being completely overshadowed by Arulnithi, even in sequences where Pavithra can act. In fact, one of the film’s flaws is the lack of coherence of the characters.
The character of the protagonist is also not well developed, except for the surprising element that appears towards the climax. The climax sequence has enough twists and turns, but leaves you with mixed feelings. The supernatural element that has been infused to evoke emotions turns out to be a futile attempt.
Diary leaves many questions unanswered due to its confusing narration. What attracts the attention of the viewers is the suspense factor that works to a certain extent. The performances of the artists are fine, while the bad VFX shots test patience.
Arulnithi in Diary
Verdict: Arulnithi comes up with another mystery thriller, but this time too fails. With only a few takeaways, even hardcore thriller lovers are unlikely to find it interesting.
Diary is broadcasting in aha Tamil.