Jallikattu movie review: All horns and rattles
In a press-meet, Taika Waititi, the renowned director of the movie Jojo Rabbit, said once : We’re the clumsiest of all animals. In a way, although we’re very reluctant to admit it, it’s plump right, upon a blow-by-blow scanning on our daily deeds. Many of the movies screened over here in Toronto in the TIFF 2019 said the same in one way or the other.
We, human beings, only boast of heavy winnings but the rules are for everyone else to follow and not for our own selves. That’s what Lijo Jose Pellissery also says as the director of the movie Jallikattu (Bull Vaulting), one of the four movies represented India in the recently concluded Toronto International Film Festival.
It is the story of nothing but the escape of a buffalo destined to be butchered on a Sunday, dog-eared for celebrations like marriages and epicurean leash-outs. That leads to a host of insults and injuries taking place in a rustic high-range village.
If someone happens upon the story, ‘Maoist’ written by S Hareesh, he or she needs to work fingers to their bones to visualize a movie out of it. It would never result in a cakewalk in its transformation to the visual media. For Lijo, the result seemed to work as a stand-alone piece, and voila – he has done it! After a series of head-scratching sittings, he decided to give it a go, come what may.
The villagers when they run amok, by and large, do not know what they run for or where it does end. But they sincerely enjoy the murderous frenzy they create en route. They go berserk, blaming and yelling each other, spreading untrue gossips on the guys they do not like and thereby go beyond the limits of even the beasts. As the humorous axiom goes, anything that can go wrong will go wrong and leads to more, things get derailed and out of control. The situation leads to make all cats grey after dark. Any hard hit will prove one’s mettle in questionable moments, but there are invariably no takers for blames. It’s not that easy to get the ownership of victories established unless you are capable of proving it aloud by convincing others.
On the other hand, a poor planning could push you down to the very bottom of an ugly well. Being on a winning streak is exciting with popular hurrays, but a pitcher has to go to the well once too often if the plan fails. Every individual is happy if they can celebrate it at the expense of others. That’s what Lijo, the director of the movie puts across.
The director looks unconcerned towards a question raised as to why there’s no tag-line or an English synonym for the title of the film Jallikattu, making it easy for an international audience who does not understand the term in Malayalam. Also, not on a situation where the Indian certification authorities might ask him to chop off the nonstop volley of Malayalam foul swearwords (It’s a must and suits in such occasions), a practice prevalent in India. If it happens so, that would clip the wings of a movie that has to fly high.
The film provides ample moments for a Malayalee to laugh his belly out, but not for an international audience for short of the gist of the wits lost in translations. Although many of the audience found laughing on many a time, I’ve my apprehensions on the cognitive contents gone into them.
Overall, the film made a great impact on the audience, thanks to the subject matter that gave umpteen occasions of black humour inherent. It’s a fast movie and time flies along with the bull by the horns.
Lijo Jose as a director takes each bull by its horns after carefully perusing the nature of stories he did so far. One cannot see a general style he follows but speedy it goes around. A mob, according to him, has no special characteristics, as it’s unpredictable and keeps changing. He’s not of a sort standing anytime still to shoot the bull on his work. He’s one who thinks he has done his assignment and not claims very great on living at it. He flew down to Toronto suspending his ongoing shoot based again at another story written by S Hareesh.
Anthony Varghese and Sabu have done outstanding performances along with seasoned Chemban Vinod as Varkey, the chief butcher. Shanti Balachandran, although she’s not appearing throughout the movie had a strikingly brilliant performance as Varkey’s sister.
Girish Gangadharan’s camerawork and Deepu Joseph’s editing contributed certainly towards the movie’s hitting the bull’s eye. The sound designed by Ranganath Ravee is another credit which can’t but praised all along.
From Toronto, Jallikattu goes to London and Busan Festivals. Slated to release on Oct 04, 2019, it can boast that it will further go places.