Star Cast: Fahadh Faasil, Baburaj, Unnimaya Prasad, PN Sunny, Joji Mundakkayam
Director: Dileesh Pothan
Joji, the tragic drama that features Fahadh Faasil in the titular role, has been released on Amazon Prime Video. The movie marks yet another collaboration of the celebrated director-writer duo- Dileesh Pothan and Syam Pushkaran. According to director Dileesh, Joji is a film that they have attempted to make, taking inspiration from Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
The excellent supporting cast
Brilliant cinematography and background score
The slow-paced narrative
Joji (Fahadh Faasil) is an unemployed engineering dropout who aspires to become a wealthy NRI. He is the youngest son of Panachel Kuttappan, a rich planter (PN Sunny). Joji is often ignored and mistreated by his father and elder brothers. When Kuttappan suffers a stroke, everyone except his elder son Jomon (Baburaj) shows indifference to his imminent death. But the patriarch bounces back in no time, surprising his family. However, Joji finally does the unthinkable to break free from his father’s dominance.
Script & Direction
Joji is probably the least viewer-friendly film from the celebrated director-writer duo- Dileesh Pothan and Syam Pushkaran. This Fahadh Faasil-starrer is a deeply unsettling tragedy that stays absolutely true to its genre. There is brilliant minimalism in the narrative, that makes this tragic drama more impactful.
What makes Joji stand out is its brilliant placement of the Shakespearean world in a Malayali Christian household, without copying it blindly. Here, the protagonist is not a hero but he is a weak, cowardly man. But what connects the world of Joji with Shakespearean tragedy is the ‘greed’ element. The ‘second piece’ (as his father calls him) protagonist is driven by his immense greed for wealth. Even when Joji crosses all moral limits and goes totally uncontrollable, he is never insane.
Just like in their previous outings, the writer-director duo chooses to not spoonfeed the viewers, and leave many links to fill their imagination. Apart from the small hints about the Panachel family’s past at places, nothing about the characters is revealed till the very end. The undertone of dark humour works well but leaves us wanting for more. After the major revelations, the predictability and slow pace hit the narrative, thus affecting the overall impact.
‘Brilliance’ would be an understatement for the performance Fahadh Faasil has delivered in Joji. The actor’s transition as the fragile, cowardly Joji who changes his colors like a chameleon, is one of the best in his acting career so far. The National award-winner has once again proved that he is the best when it comes to portraying the flawed, grey-shaded, and layered characters.
PN Sunny, the senior actor is spectacular as Panachel Kuttappan, while Baburaj astonishes as his eldest son Jomon. Unnimaya Prasad once again proves her immense caliber as Bincy. The rest of the star cast, including Shammy Thilakan, Basil Joseph, Joji Mundakkayam, Alister Alex, and so on have played their parts to near perfection.
Shyju Khalid, the director of photography creates the perfect backdrop for the tragic drama with his exceptional visualisation. Justin Varghese, the music director scores with the haunting background score, which is unarguably the soul of Joji.
Joji is a deeply unsettling tragic drama that stays true to its genre. This Dileesh Pothan directorial is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. But Fahadh Faasil’s performance in this brilliantly crafted tragedy is pure cinematic gold.