Joji (movie on Amazon Prime); Cast: Fahadh Faasil, Baburaj, Unnimaya Prasad, Joji Mundakayam, Sunny PN, Alister Alex; Direction: Dileesh Pothan; Rating: * * * and 1/2 (three and a half stars)
Just while you’d suppose one other contemporary tackle William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” could not presumably be performed, comes “Joji”. Fahadh Faasil’s new collaboration with director Dileesh Pothan retains the fundamental define of human avarice and slant at violence, however sheds Shakespearean grandeur of the story in favour of restraint because it builds up the crime drama.
“Macbeth” and its innumerable retellings (together with Vishal Bhardwaj’s magnificent “Maqbool”) have historically banked on a singular tragic flaw whereas spelling doom for the towering Shakespearean antihero — his ambition. Pothan’s movie underplays that bit, and offers the titular protagonist (performed by Faasil) the persona of a weakling, ridden by inferiority complicated.
Faasil’s Joji is clearly the weakest in each approach amongst the three sons of a wealthy plantation proprietor, Kuttappan (Sunny PN). Screenwriter Syam Pushkaran attracts up Joji, youngest of the brothers, as a loser. He is an engineering dropout and whereas he desires of being a rich NRI he has no clue methods to go about it. Twist in the story comes when Kuttappan, on returning house after a stroke, clearly refuses to offer Joji any inheritance in any way. Angered, Joji quietly adjustments his father’s remedy, which results in the latter’s demise. As the narrative strikes forward, a paranoid Joji units on a frantic bid to cowl his tracks, solely complicating his state of affairs additional.
Pothan and Pushkaran have tried fascinating departures from what defines the “Macbeth” storyline. Among the most pertinent re-jigs is Lady Macbeth, imagined right here as Bincy, performed with chilly precision by Unnimaya Prasad. Bincy, spouse of the second son Jaison (Joji Mundakayam), is an confederate of brother-in-law Joji extra by likelihood than design. Her function is restricted to enjoying alongside, as a result of she sees doable subsequent benefit that she might draw out of Joji’s nefarious plan of motion.
Unlike “Macbeth” and nearly all of its interpretations, the Lady Macbeth monitor right here is restricted to greed. There isn’t any sexual or marital subtext of any consequence in Bincy’s equation with Joji. The thought lets Pothan craft a story that stays singleminded in its deal with Joji’s thoughts video games.
That type of an method can be the cause this movie has performed away with the symbolism that renders “Macbeth” a lot of its textual richness. Parallels to blood on the arms, supernatural apparitions, the Three Witches, or the Birnham Wood coming to Dunsinane are both negligibly touched upon or performed away with, in sync with the frills-free cinematic therapy of “Joji”.
The greatest departure, of course, must be Fahadh Faasil’s reorganised Macbeth. As the low-key Joji, he strikes an antithesis of the heartless killer the protagonist will ultimately turn into, executing the function with impeccable restraint.
Faasil will get ample help from the prop solid. Baburaj as the eldest of the brothers, Jomon, an alcoholic divorcee and single father, is aptly solid, as is Joji Mundakayam as Jaison, the mild-mannered second brother.
“Joji” strikes subtly because it delivers affect, by means of Shyju Khalid’s impersonal cinematography that just about features as a discreet onlooker in a family of disquiet, and thru Justin Varghese’s gentle background rating that leaves a observe of menace.
The movie was shot in the Covid period, and Pothan has crafted an beautiful “Macbeth” in the time of sporting masks. The characters of “Joji” put on their masks not simply actually however metaphorically, too.