Jo and Jo
It is still a Wednesday and I have finished watching another Malayalam film this week titled Jo And Jo. This was one film that I had been getting a lot of recommendations from my Youtube subscribers(Riswan and in particular Chacko) and I finally got a chance to watch it. And I was almost not going the watch the film as the response was mixed in a way. There were some people who told me they couldn’t even get past the first 15 minutes which made me even more skeptical. But because the reputation of Malayalam films are such that there is always a hope, that the film will be good. It is almost like Virat Kohli in his prime likely to score a hundred every single time. Such are Malayalam films for me which truly make them special. So then is Jo And Jo worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Set against the backdrop of the pandemic, Jo And Jo follows the story of two siblings who always enjoy having a go at one another until a love letter finds its way to their house. The relationship of a brother and sister is always loving but in a different manner. They would quarrel and fight but still care for each other and love each other at the end of the day. And the same is shown beautifully in this slice of life comedy which has a refreshing story! This is vintage Malayalam cinema, something that I have been familiar with. A story which is very simple with an even simpler premise but a screenplay which is layered and eventful. The screenplay standing at 135 minutes did seem overwhelming to me before I started(which is why I had opted to review Keedam first). But throughout its runtime, there was never a dull moment.
The screenplay is a bit of a slow burner to begin with where it slowly introduces you to the main players. I can understand some of the criticism from people who want the drama to open right on the money. But that is not the case here. The leisurely paced screenplay does take its time to open. But the characters are so well fleshed out and at time relatable that you are instantly invested in them.
The proceedings are simple but eventful. At no point does the drama get too heavy or melodramatic. In fact some of the sequences are down right funny. I was pleasantly surprised as I found myself chuckling at various scenes. The writing is simplistic and the best part is that it does not try to be funny. The humour is situational(with a dash of slapstick) and that just reflects beautifully in the drama.
The drama also meticulously touches upon issues of patriarchy and how the son is the ‘apple of the eye’ as compared to the daughter. But again these events are merely integrated in the screenplay and the writers don’t hover upon those points to drive home their point. It is subtle and conveyed in an entertaining manner.
The final act is absolutely hilarious and it was thoroughly enjoying to witness how the dots were connected at the end. The screenplay is subtle, nuanced and refreshing and quite brilliantly penned(where I also enjoyed how the pandemic formed the part of the narrative).
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational but hilarious and filled with so many gems which will put a smile on your face. The BGM nicely blends itself with the drama. The cinematography is terrific and captures some of the locales in a breathtaking manner. The production value gives thing film a young and fresh vibe with the use of bright colours. Director Arun D Jose has done an outstanding job in weaving a tale which is heartwarming and refreshing. His treatment here is what sets the film apart with the subtle use of comedy sprinkled throughout the film. And what an eventful ride this is for which the director deserves distinction marks!
The performances are quite brilliant here. Johny Antony as Baby was one of my favourite character who was quietly caring and Not Patriarchal. When given a choice, he always stood up for his children and that was beautifully shown in a commendable performance. Sminu Sijo as Lilly is first rate and I enjoyed her banter with her two onscreen children. Melvin as Eby is terrific with a brilliant sense of comic timing. Naslen as Manoj has an incredible screen presence and does an excellent job. Mathew Thomas as Jomon is such a natural onscreen and he oozed of innocence which was well integrated in his character. Nikhila Vimal.as Jomol is absolutely brilliant. She caught on the character so well that it really had me invested in her journey. The subtle nuances followed by some fiery comebacks was a sign of a great actor with a terrific range! And I loved the banter between the two siblings!
Jo And Jo is refreshingly hilarious and heartwarming. Another winner coming from the Malayalam Film Industry. Available on Amazon Prime and Highly Recommended!