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REVIEW: JOJI (Malayalam)

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Producer- Fahadh Faasil, Dileesh Pothan and Syam Pushkaran

Director- Dileesh Pothann

Star Cast-Fahadh Faasil, Babu Raj, Joji Mundakayam, Unnimaya Prasad, Sunny P.N, Alister Alex and Babu Raj

Genre- Thriller

Rating- ***

Platform- Amazon Prime Video

Stunning & Gripping!

Jyothi Venkatesh

Joji, based on Shekaespeare’s epic Macbeth, doesn’t waste a single moment in getting into the meat of the complex and grave story.

The plot has too many characters including the bed-ridden ageing PK Kuttapan Panachel (Sunny P.N) who is the patriarch of the family, who literally exudes brute strength metaphorically and also, has an ironclad grip over his vast property and his three sons.

The brawny Jomon (Babu Raj) resembles his father in build, the dutiful and the stocky Jaison (Joji Mundakayam) who is the obedient and the dutiful one and the wayward Joji (Fahadh Faasil), an engineering drop-out who lives off his father’s earnings.

Jomon is divorced, and lives with his teenaged son Popy (Alister Alex). There is also a sole woman, Jaison’s wife Bincy (Unnimaya Prasad), who is a silent witness to the upheavals caused by the old man’s now-critical-now-stable condition.

What is interesting about this dark and brooding film is that though it is set in the pandemic era, it clearly tells us that the real malaise lies within the walls of the dark, brooding house, where each distrusts the other to the extent of hating each other.

Joji is Fahadh’s third collaboration with Dileesh after the deeply endearing Maheshinte Prathikaaram and Thondimuthalum Driksaskshium. Syam Pushkaran, who’s written Maheshinte Pratikaaram, Maayanadhi and Kumbalangi Nights, has also written the script of Joji.

If Joji is Macbeth, then Jomon is Banquo and Bincy is Lady Macbeth. However, Bincy’s Lady Macbeth is not driven by madness.

She’s frustrated with her husband’s lack of spine and desperately wants only financial independence from her father-in-law. Bincy doesn’t plot or instigate, but only hints at Joji to demand what’s rightfully his.

As far as the performances go, undoubtedly Fahaadh Faasil is the scene stealer in his brooding role portraying vulnerability as well as jealousy and anger at the same time in the same breath.

Baburaj plays his part perfectly to the T, with neat restraint, whether he is drunk, comic, angry or confused, and Sunny PN conveys menace perfectly, as the bed ridden father.

The camera cranked by Shyju Khalid captures the mood in the rural Kerala and is immersive, while Justin Varghese’s background score is very quirky and sets the perfect tone to the eerie tempo of the film.

Justin Varghese’s music helps in setting the mood in a big way. On the flipside is the editing which leaves a lot to be desired as the proceedings on the screen start meandering half way through the otherwise stunning and gripping film.