Now this was a movie that I had watched more than a year back and was simply blown away by it. But for some strange odd reason, I never took to the social media to praise this masterpiece. This is now India’s official entry into the Oscars, finally a correct movie after ages to be selected. While last year’s entry was Gully Boy and the movie was excellent but you couldn’t help but think it had literally no chance at the Academy Awards due to its flowery nature of storytelling instead of the raw in your face kind of cinema. Well all I have to say is, wait till you watch Jallikattu on Amazon Prime. So through this review I will be discussing this movie in depth(instead of the surface level treatment which I generally do to avoid spoilers), so here goes.
Referenced from a sport where in a group of people have to catch the bull by its hump, Jallikattu is the story of a small village in Kerala wherein it is just another day in the lives of the people. All until there is a bull on the loose! Now I have said this time and again. It is the Malayalam industry who are torch bearers and actually leading the way as far as content and storytelling goes. Some of the simplest of premises are transformed into brilliant stories. Jallikattu is exactly that. But there is indeed more to it. The screenplay doesn’t waste time in giving you back-stories of each character. It just jumps right into the thick of things. Probably the makers wanted the audience to be less judgemental on its characters and their antics which eventually lead them into this ‘goose’ chase. The screenplay is also a social commentary on the evolution of man and also the animals. With hounds of people actually running for the prized meat, and the animal running for cover which also creates havoc, it underlines the aspect of our society that we currently live in and also makes us question if we are indeed civilised. With human emotions of greed and one upmanship also being touched upon, the drama is truely raw and in your face. And that finale, the more I say the lesser it is! I never imagined that sort of a finale in any Indian film. With as many as 50 people in a single frame and the emotions at the end, it is a feeling hard to describe, probably something that would anger you to an extent yet also reflect on some of the choices that we humans take without taking into account anyone else’s point of view. I will leave it there. The dialogues are excellent and so is the BGM. Director Lijo Jose Pellissery who has also directed the outstanding Angamaly Diaries, is one of my favourite directors at the moment. Not only is his direction pitch perfect but the techniques that he uses in each shot is the one to study and savour. And like always, he is a fan of one take shots (like the famous 12 minutes one take shot in Angamaly Diaries) which require immense planning, here is no different. You will find one here too! Excellent execution!
The performances are simply outstanding. The very fact that each one of them are so distinctly etched out on my memory even after a year, goes to show what an acting masterclass this is. Jaffer Idukki as Kuriachan is simply brilliant. Sabumon Abdusamad as Kattachan is first rate. Santhy Balachandran as Sophie has a smaller role but she has terrific screen presence and a fantastic job done. Chemban Vinod Jose as Kalan is on point. The show belongs to Antony Varghese as Antony. Each of his expressions are ones to savour and that finale act wherein he is surrounded by men with the bull in the center is haunting and an image that will stay with you long after the film is done.
Jallikattu shows that the Malayalam cinema is light years ahead of its contemporaries especially Bollywood. India definitely stands a chance at the Academy Awards next year. Jallikattu is a modern day masterpiece and filmmaking of the highest order. Available on Amazon Prime and Highly Highly Highly Recommended!