Review: When a man, who has collapsed, is taken from the fields by his children and workers to be taken to the hospital, the youngest son, Joji, who is in the house, runs to get the car keys. In the midst of this, he rushes to ask the barely conscious man for permission, “I’m going to take the car.” It’s the kind of relatable and hilarious situation that Syam Pushkaran writes and that Dileesh Pothan directs so well, and that Fahadh Faasil interprets to perfection.
Although Joji, another chillingly negative Fahadh character, was initially said to be inspired by Macbeth, it feels more Hamlet-like. The film in typical Syam Pushkaran style focuses more on the characters than the story. The film looks at a plantation family in Kottayam, with a physically and excessively powerful patriarch, Kuttappan Panachel (Sunny PN). His sons, Jomon, Jaison and Joji (the first two played by Baburaj and Joji Mundakayam), look at him with a mixture of wonder and fear. Even when he suffers a stroke and is almost reduced to a vegetable state, his three adult children are still almost crying children in his presence.
While the two older ones are involved in different parts of the property and business, Joji, who spends most of his days in bed or looking after his horse, which is not allowed by Kuttappan on the premises of the house, does not is very considerate by someone. But he shows a surprisingly strong streak with his sick father, and asks for his share only to be physically abused by him. There’s definitely more to Joji than meets the eye, so how long can he be bullied for?
There is a constant feeling of secrets – what is the actual emotional relationship between Joji and Jaison’s wife (Unnimaya)? – lurking in the atmospheric movie. The film is full of black humor and subtle successes to family and society; Amid the stress of an impending police investigation, an older relative says that Joji should get married or when Jomon says that his stroke-struck father should be operated on regardless of the financial and physical costs, because that’s what society would expect.
But for all its cunning, like when Joji’s sister-in-law tells her to wear her mask when she can barely suppress a smile even when the family is in mourning, the movie falls short because even excellently written characters can only carry one story. so far. And this is not a reflection of Dileesh Pothan’s skillful direction, or acting talent. Baburaj plays his role with neat restraint, whether he’s drunk, comedic, angry, or confused, and Sunny PN conveys the threat perfectly. Shyju Khalid’s camera captures the mood and is immersive, while Justin Varghese’s bgm is quirky and sets the perfect tone.
Ultimately, it is an exaggerated story about the darkness in a man’s heart. But it will definitely be a movie that will be part of the popular culture of its characters.