Jallikkattu is one grand cinematic vision of seemingly simplistic thought. I know people who have seen Unda and asked why there was no Maoist at the end. I am just dragging that movie in this review simply because, if you also had the same question at the end of Unda, Jallikkattu might well end up as a movie where a lot of people are madly chasing a buffalo. Jallikkattu is a movie that captures the events that happen in a village over a span of a couple of nights and the movie is an extremely political one.
I can’t really talk about the plot of the movie as there is very little here to address as a plot. Kalan Varkey owns a slaughterhouse in the village and he has a lot of customers from all sections of society. One day a buffalo that was supposed to get slaughtered runs away into the village and causes massive loss to the villagers. In the middle of the blame game, they decided to collectively work to kill the buffalo. Jallikkattu basically captures those breathtaking events.
The fundamental thought behind Jallikkattu is a questioning of humanity’s claim to be the most evolved species. From frame one to the very last frame Lijo Jose Pellissery is showing us the least evolved beasty side of ours. People address the Buffalo as a threat, but the movie cleverly shows us how less a threat that animal is when compared to the venomous mind space of the humans. The hypocrisy, inherent violence and the self-centered nature of humans are shown as another version of what we call barbaric. Society starts to hero-worship a man who was once crucified as a thief because of what he did at the premise of a church. Jallikkattu is an unabashed attack on the human hypocrisy that is spread across many levels and layers.
Performances are perhaps the only slight negative in this movie. Maybe because of the scale of the film, we can see a lot of faces who aren’t trained actors. LJP’s long time associate Tinu Pappachan handles the role of a Police Inspector and there are a few more similar stiff faces in the acting side. Even Antony Varghese is at times a bit animated. Chemban Vinod Jose was fine and Sabumon was extremely good in being the venomous Kuttachan. Jaffer Idukki, Santhy Balachandran etc are the other prominent names in the cast.
Lijo Jose Pellissery’s making is more aligned to the way he created Angamaly Diaries. Deepu Joseph’s editing is rhythmic and evokes spookiness. It really works in favor of the movie as it helps the narrative in creating that wild side of the humans on the screen. The script by S Hareesh and R Jayakumar is making sure that it mocks human behavior from all angles. Some of it is satiric while most are sarcastic. It is towards the end where we get to see the grand showdown where the egoistic humans are unable to control their obsession for possession and power. With the help of stunning and agile frames of Girish Gangadharan, Lijo Jose Pellissery sets up a climax that will leave you in awe (only if you can read the subtle politics). Prashant Pillai’s background score is fitting and the sound design of the movie is superb.
Jallikkattu puts you in the middle of the chaos and shows you the sinister side of mankind that has encroached the land the animals rightly deserved. Finally when the camera pans out from that heap of humans, the movie speaks volumes without being vocal about it. If you are a fan of spoon fed message oriented main stream movies, just take a little more effort to understand the statement made by this movie and the ultimate message can shake you up for something good.
The fundamental thought behind Jallikkattu is a questioning of humanity’s claim to be the most evolved species.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended