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JOJI (Malayalam / Prime) - The outstanding performances remain the key reason behind its overall excellence. (Review by Bobby Sing)

16 Apr, 2021 | Movie Reviews / 2021 Releases / Indian Regional language Gems (Other Than Hindi) / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / J

Beginning with a blunt clarification, had it not been publicised through various means, the film would not have been viewed as an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, to be honest. Yes, JOJI’s storyline has the similar incidents but it cannot really be called a faithful version of Macbeth as widely quoted. Keeping it short, it doesn’t have many key elements of the iconic play with the most important being ‘Guilt’, largely missing from its presentation and characterisations. So JOJI can at the most be called a film inspired from Macbeth and the case can also be studied as a perfect example of how information fed in advance influences the viewers-in-large guiding them to a specific direction. Moreover, it cannot even be compared to Vishal Bhardwaj's MAQBOOL for the same reasons.
Moving over the Macbeth link, JOJI is a story of undisclosed grudges between the members of a prosperous and influential family, who reveal themselves post a tragedy strikes them all. The narration takes time to bring you in but becomes gripping as the incidents start happening one after another at quick succession without wasting any time. However, what actually limits the film from being an outstanding creation is the lack of proper interrogation and investigation by the local Police officials leaving many logical loopholes in the proceedings. In fact, the writer-director never get into those essential details (dealing with sudden deaths) remaining completely focused on the few key characters in the script.
But then, what makes JOJI excel as a must-watch project?

Firstly, it’s the outstanding performances becoming the backbone of the film that has been written well, except the investigations ignored by the writers for their own reasons. The carefully chosen cast does exceptionally well in their given roles, but the two who stand apart are Fahadh Faasil as Joji and Unnimaya Prasas as Bincy – the weakest characters among them all, who don’t really have any say in their family matters. At the same time, I personally felt Fahadh having done more complex and unusual roles in his earlier films. May be that is the reason I found Unnimaya even surpassing Fahadh at times, in their scenes together.
Secondly, it’s a new-age film wherein pandemic and masks become a silent feature on the screen so effortlessly that you don’t even feel like something new or unusual incorporated in its major sequences. No doubt, masks are going to be a part of our life for quite long as depicted in the film.
Thirdly, the writer-director not only mock the religious traditions intelligently with a touch of humour but also point towards the problem of alcoholism in the region as a socially responsible film. Plus, it’s the locales, camerawork and background music (in specific) that brilliantly support the narrative taking it to another level. 
Having said that, the two major downers of JOJI remain its slower start (requiring patience) and predictability creeping in just after 30 minutes or so. As a result, there are not many surprises left and the viewer easily goes on guessing what will be coming ahead in the less than 2 hours film. The over-publicised link to Macbeth also remains one of the reasons of this predictability element hampering its overall impact.
Lastly, coming from the team of director Dileesh Pothan and Fahadh Faasil, maybe I was expecting a lot more from them together, post their must watch gems Maheshinte Prathikaaram (2016) and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum (2017) – that are right there in BTC’s list of Movies To See Before You Die. In all fairness, JOJI cannot be included in that list for the reasons stated above. It’s a much simpler in comparison but still remains a film that should essentially be seen.
Rating : 3.5 / 5
For friends interested in reading the BTC Review of two earlier films of the team, they can be read at the links given below:
MAHESHINTE PRATHIKAARAM (2016) – A superfine, enjoyable mix of almost everything our Indian cinema is known for. 
THONDIMUTHALUM DRIKSAKSHIYUM (2017) – Incredibly charming real-life cinema that gives you so much to cheer and praise wholeheartedly.
Link: https://www.bobbytalkscinema.com/recentpost/THONDIMUTHALUM-DRIKSAKSHIYUM--1866 

Tags : JOJI (Malayalam) Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Malayalam Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, New Regional Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, Indian Regional Gems not to be missed.
16 Apr 2021 / Comment ( 0 )
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