Jellikkattu: A visual fiesta with many layers

Lijo Jose Pellissery is back with “Jallikkattu” after his crowning feat "Ee Ma Yau".  This time with a more thought-provoking take, laying bare the bestial traits in us.

It’s truly bewitching. Yes, the flick delves deep into the inner turmoils of human psyche which satiates  its hoggishness for victorious exuberance over a dumb animal—buffalo. Losing a hard battle to win the flesh of an animal, consequently erasing the wisdom of humanity forever, is a sorry sight.

The plot is uniquely woven with characters, of course entangled and glued, to the scenes of cornering a buffalo. Remember, the animal had a narrow escape from an abattoir.

The move is an exhilarating and breathtaking experience, because, it allows one for self- exploration to drive out the beast within.

It happens in a provincial village. Everyone here is woken up to hear of a runaway buffalo from Varkey’s slaughterhouse.  It creates an eerie situation—thanks to the wild hunt for the beast and the unrest among the villagers.

This crucible of emotions forms the crux of the story.  It is electrifying to watch the mad hunt for an animal, through day and night.

These carnivores crave for the animal’s flesh, very poignant.  The script uniquely etches the basic instincts of humans.  Everything from cold-blooded chase to brutal killing to the chopping of flesh is shown with great vigour.

There are no heroes or heroines in the movie. Each character transforms into an incarnation of evil in them. Though Varkey is in the lead, all the others surpass him in this wild chase and even the spectators transform and immerse with the visuals on the screen.

What singles out this movie is its novelty in theme and treatment.  This is the same with "Ee Ma Yau" too, where the viewers became inextricably part of a "death" in a family. Its pain seeps into people in the theatre. The sound effects of roaring waves, the sudden downpour and heavy storm manifest the dismal state of the family.

Here too Lijo has incorporated myriads of sound track from the beginning itself. The chase for the animal at night is a coloured festivity along with the diverse glow of lights. It’s a dumbfound visual treat throughout.

The 'rope' is a symbol for 'life and death'. The viewers were caught with the visual of a man at his death's door. The rope hanging over his head gives him life and easy breath. Concomitantly the rope taken by Antony to ensnare the buffalo has taken the life of many. When one loses his breath in the bog, another regains.  A plot which throws itself up for diverse readings.

Lijo did a flamboyant casting with Varkey (Chemban Vinod Jose) in the lead role. Antony, his helpmate, has uncouth intricate emotions. The grand entry of Sabu as an anti-hero enticed the audience but everything ended abruptly with his fall. No female has been given any captivating role.

It's a pity that the mad scramble for flesh has devalued  the humans to mere cannibals.  Also worth noticing is when one says "though they walk on two legs....they are animals....real animals".  That becomes the final nail in the society's coffin.

Lijo and his entire crew turned the movie into the most favored among the intelligentsia. The way he fleshes out the characters is commendable. 'Jallikkattu' is indeed an unutterable visual fiesta with multiple readings.