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Joji

RATING
4.5 Star popcorn reviewss

Introduction

You have to give it to the Malayalam Industry. When the country was under a lockdown, they have found ways to keep the ball rolling and shooting one film after another during the pandemic. Joji is one such film too that seems to have been shot during the pandemic. And it is loosely based on the play, Macbeth by William Shakespeare. I remember being a part of the play when I was in school. At that point I did not realise how many shades this character of Macbeth has until I watched the Vishal Bharadwaj adaptation Maqbool. So is Joji which is out on Amazon Prime, worth your time, stay tuned.

Story & Screenplay

Joji follows the story of an engineering dropout and the youngest son of a wealthy family who has sinister ambitions of himself becoming super rich. The story set in the lush green landscapes of Kerala is a quietly haunting yet a complex and layered take on Macbeth. The screenplay is a slow burn as the writers allow it to simmer in the heat. If you are familiar with the story of Macbeth, you will enjoy the complexity of the drama. For those who haven’t will find it drab and boring. For me, the pacing was just right. It allows you to get slowly sucked into the world of the family without any prejudices. And once you are sucked in and well acquainted with the characters, the second half particularly towards the latter end speeds up and you get twist after twist albeit all too familiar, which will make your jaws drop. The portions of the nightmare sequence are brilliant backed by one of the finest performances that I have watched(which I will get to in a bit). The unhurried screenplay is complex and layered and an absolute masterclass in writing!di

Dialogues, Music & Direction

The dialogues are the types we use in our daily conversations yet they leave a lasting impact. The BGM was simply outstanding. It is melancholic yet haunting and blends particularly with the proceedings that would follow. So it in a way creates an atmosphere of mystery almost alerting the audience of what to expect in the times to come. A memorable background score. The cinematography is also excellent, the wide angle shots capture the lush green landscapes of Kerala beautifully. Director Dileesh Pothan has done a tremendous job here. He provides zero respite to the audience which means there are no subplots or unnecessary songs(which have always been a norm with the Malayalam industry). He ensures that his slow simmering drama is cooked perfectly.

Performances

Basil Joseph as Fr. Kevin is outstanding and really leaves a mark. Joji Mundakayam.as Jaison is first rate. Pn Sunny as Kuttappan PK is fabulous. Baburaj as Jomon is another layered character under the influence of alcohol, and he is simply brilliant. Unnimaya Prasad as Bincy plays Lady Macbeth and here her character is silence though as meticulous as the original charactee. The small gestures or glances really give deep insights here and she delivers a memorable performance. But the star of the show is undoubtedly Fahadh Faasil. He portrayal of Joji goes to show that there van be multiple interpretations of how the role of Macbeth can be portrayed. You can be as stoic as Maqbool and here you can be goofy and meticulous at the same time. He brings so many complexities which are brilliant in probably the finest performance of 2021 that I have watched so far. If this is not an acting masterclass, I am not sure what is. Fahadh Faasil is probably the best actor in our country at the moment and here he is at his absolute sinister best! A performance to savour and cherish. I am giving an additional half star just for his acting!

Conclusion

After a minor blip last week with Irul(just by their high standards), the Malayalam industry is back on track. Joji is quietly haunting and a layered and complex take on Macbeth. Available on Amazon Prime and Highly Highly Highly Recommended. Drop everything and watch this masterpiece now!