JOJI – Malayalam Movie set in Covid time – inspired by Macbeth, is a simple story set in a Syrian Orthodox Christian family of Kottayam, told without any frills. Dileesh the director has done an excellent work, so are all the characters. Technically also the movie is brilliant. Justin Varghese’s music is apt for each occasion and every time a new symphony plays, it is a reminder about the Shakespearean tragedy lurking around.
The family background and the name of the protagonist are same as my novel ‘Son of a Gunner,’ and there end the commonalities. The movie tells the story of a hardworking father who made a fortune through his dedication and business acumen in rubber plantation and harnessed his riches. His adamant nature and his treatment of his three sons are typical of such people. The natures of his three sons follow a typical Syrian Christian lineage of the day.
The eldest son is the one most attached to his father, who toiled hard with his father for the well being of the family. He is the least educated – could be that the father could not afford to send his to college during his time. He is a ‘ruffian’ with coarse language, speaks his mind out and the least greedy while dividing the family riches. He is physically tough – the result of his hard work in his youth and dresses in simple mundu and shirt. These qualities must have resulted in a broken marriage and he is depicted as a divorcee, living with his son in the ancestral home.
The second son is better educated, and runs the rubber procurement business. He is less attached to his father and is also greedy. His scheming wife proves an ideal companion. His dress sense is better than his elder brother’s, so is his language, but physically he is no match. He is very diplomatic and flows well with the requirement of the society.
In a Syrian Orthodox family, the youngest son inherits the ancestral house, based on the premise that he is most likely to outlive his parents. He is responsible to take care of the parents in their old-age and also organise family events and get-togethers.
The youngest son grew up when the family’s fortunes were good. He neither witnessed any hardships nor he worked towards enhancing the family’s riches. He had the best of times and the best education his father could afford. Richness of the family ensured that he developed many vices and turned lazy. He is depicted as an engineering degree dropout. He does not even pick up a bottle from the fridge to drink, he wants his sister-in-law to serve him. He is up-to-date with technology and also his dress sense.
Though physically the weakest, he is the most intelligent among the three sons and is also the most scheming. His attitude is that the ancestral house belongs to him and the rest are parasites. He also wants to inherit all the riches the earliest and wants his father dead. He aptly called the ‘useless’ by his father and the oppressive nature of the father turns him into a beast.
The eldest son is the least greedy, the second is greedier and the youngest greediest. The level of greediness is inversely proportional to their efforts towards the family riches. This is a reality and is very evident with many court cases – both civil and criminal – in Indian courts – all for wealth inherited from the parents.
It is all about ‘Dad’s Money‘ ‘തന്തേടെ കാശ്’ ‘बाप का पैसा’ – one of the root cause of most evils in Indian society.
The movie is worth a watch and is available on Amazon Prime.