Arulnithi's next film, Diary has released today in theatres and this one is his third release in the last 2 months. Diary is an investigative mystery thriller which happens to be Arulnithi's forte and it is directed by debutant Innasi Pandiyan. The teaser and trailer showed a good level of promise and made the film buffs curious. Has the film lived up to its promise? Well, here we go. 

Varadhan (Arulnithi) is new to the Police force and he takes up the case of an unsolved murder of a newly married couple who were killed in their honeymoon in Ooty. As he embarks on the mission to resolve the case, he unravels several mysteries and comes across a series of unexpected incidents. What was the final outcome of the case and how did the case personally impact Arulnithi's life is what the film is about. 

Diary has a promising plot and it keeps you interested to a fair extent. Of course, the film has a few slips here and there and some deviations, but overall, it manages to hold your attention with its neat writing. There is a certain level of smartness in the writing and the guessing game is on, until the pre-climax. While some of the twists and turns are predictable, the rest of them indeed take you by surprise and the way the dots are connected looks impressively done.

A handful of intelligent moments like these only make Diary a fairly watchable film despite some misses. The interval sequence and the climax reveal, especially have you hooked and the plot points are cleverly knitted. Debut director Innasi Pandiyan exhibits promise with his writing and decent execution.

On the downside, the horror angle doesn't really leave the impact that the director actually intends to. The balance between mystery and horror isn't convincingly done and it looks like the horror elements were just placed for the sake of it. There are some needless scenes that occupy the screen time in the first half and the team could have been made wise use of the scissors. The writing of certain characters looks unclear - like the heroine is shown as a bold and gutsy woman in the beginning, but when there is a situation for her to hit the rowdies opposite her, it is only the hero who comes to the rescue. A few more characters also needed a better arc. 

Arulnithi has played his character with ease and he fits the part effortlessly. His earnest performance with conviction adds vitality to the serious mood of the film. Debutant Pavithrah Marimuthu as the female lead does her part well with the limited screen time she gets. Shah Ra manages to bring a few laughs at select places. The director should have extracted more from the performances of the fresh actors as the emotionally intense scenes are left with zero impact because of the amateur acting. 

Ron Ethan Yohan's music is definitely a big pillar of strength for Diary, with regard to the BG score. The talented composer's pulsating score amplifies the overall impact of the scenes, keeping us hooked to the screens. Aravinnd Singh's cinematography is neat and the dark and eerie mood of the film is maintained throughout with interesting usage of colours. A major chunk of the film takes place inside a bus and Aravinnd plays well with the restricted surrounding. Due credits to the sound department as well, for the striking sound design work. However, the VFX looks tacky, especially in the accident portions, while the DI is also a letdown. 

Despite the shortcomings, Arulnithi's Diary is a likeable film for its smart writing!