Ten mins into the latest Amazon Prime movie release, Joji, you will be forgiven for picking up your mobile phone and searching where this latest Malayalam flick was shot. The lush green forests, the streams, the quaint village, the tall trees and the tranquil surrounding it all, somewhere around Kottayam (Kerala, India), makes for mesmerizing views. Move over Europe, the villages of India are there!
Fahadh Faasil generally assures quality and hence this Dileesh Pothan movie does not disappoint. An ode to Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Joji comes out as a very slow-moving product that can test your patience more than once. However, the performances of the lead actors (Fahadh, Baburaj), the locales, the eerie background music and some finer details keeps one hooked. For eg. the tiny pond where Fahadh smokes often stays with you; the scene where firecrackers are burst in a funeral is an eye-opener to different customs and cultures; the aged father having more strength than young workmen; the scene where Fahadh desperately tries to find a spot in between the several men carrying his father… it’s these tiny nuggets that stay with you longer.
In brief, the story of Joji features three brothers who are keen to see their charismatic dad either split up his fortunes early or rest in peace, soon. The wealthy father holds a strong grip over the entire household as well as over the village. When his health deteriorates, the behaviour of everyone around sees drastic changes. The movie does remind you of Vishal Bharadwaj’s Maqbool, which is a superior product to Joji. Joji could have had few more twists that would engage the viewer more. There is some lack of diversity – just one lady in the movie who has barely twenty lines to speak gives the screenplay too much sameness. Perhaps a love interest for the young boy character Popy would have livened up proceedings too.
Rating: 3.25/5 (a good one time watch; once done, watch Irrfan Khan’s Maqbool please)
IMDB current rating: 8.1/10 (It has slipped from the initial euphoria of 8.7, and will slip down more.)
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