Read review of Jallikattu, India's official Oscar entry | A crafty mayhem


Lijo Jose Pellissery cuts loose the wild beast inside us with his latest flick, Jallikattu. After Ee. Ma. Yau, the master craftsman has again opted to saunter through the innate nature of humans in an off-kilter manner. 

He places viewers in the middle of absolute mayhem just moments into the film, with the rhythm of a dying man's heartbeat and breathing. With matching close-ups of people waking up to an eventful day and the macro lives that many of us detest, the filmmaker gives us a hint of the world we are entering. Shed your polished civilized self before you watch Jallikattu, for it will unleash the wild beast in you.

By the interval, he traps the beast in you thanks to superlative cinematography by Gireesh Gangadharan and music by Prashanth Pillai.

And halfway through the movie, if you thought you have seen the worst of your own self, wait a bit more. 

The depiction of Jalikattu through the human prism would make you cringe.

More shocking would be how effortlessly one could relate to it, even when you try to fight the thought. 


The conflict is not man versus animal here, it is a conflict between the beast and the beast within you. A Hareesh and R Jayakumar have layered the plot with politics, religion, morality, moral policing, personal vengeance and all sorts of vices prevalent in the society. Some of them are left in the premature stage as the fast-paced movie ends in 91mins. But like the animal running amok, you would not worry about any of that.

The movie's technical brilliance is something that Mollywood can flaunt for a long time to come. Some of the dialogues get lost in the cacophony of life around.

The acting is crude, real and rustic may it be the seasoned actors like Chemban Vinod Jose, Antony Varghese, Jaffer Idukki, Sabumon Abdusamad or Santhy Balachandran and numerous other fresh faces. 

Jallikattu is roughly based on a story by S Hareesh. Prashanth Pillai has helmed the music while Deepu Joseph has edited the film and Renganaath Ravee is the sound designer. The flick has been bankrolled by Thomas Panicker. 

Like the butcher in the movie, Lijo teams up with his accomplice Gireesh, Prashanth and action director Supreme Sundar to land the final blow on your head with the stunning climax.

On the mucky banks of a misty river, in the wee hours of the day, an entire village loses its sanity and goes for each other's throat. 

This is a warning to our animal instincts to tame it. Now. And for the Malayalam cinema, rather than taming, he may have spurred the animal instincts of it.

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