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Review Malayalam

Ee.Ma.Yau review: Grave satire entertains and stuns too

Release Date: 29 Sep 2018 / Rated: U / 02hr 00min


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Blessy Chettiar

Lijo Jose Pellissery has come up with a successful film in all aspects — story, screenplay, music, acting and crisp editing.

Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Ee.Ma.Yau opens with a wide-angle scene of a funeral procession, complete with a band and a posse of priests, walking along a beach on a gorgeous bright day. There is beauty in how the scene is captured with a stationary camera and the credits roll. This sunshine evaporates quickly enough to reveal the darkness of the film — its weather, characters and a solemn occasion. Cinematographer Shyju Khalid does a splendid job of capturing night-time scenes too.

Son Eesy (Chemban Vinod Jose) and father Vavachan Mesthri (Kainakary Thankaraj) are having a heart-to-heart chat and a theatrical performance over a bottle of arrack. In this chat they are not expressing their love for each other but discussing how Vavachan wants to be put to rest. The makers subtly make it acceptable to discuss death, poking fun at its inevitability.

Like any obedient son, Eesy promises to give him a grand farewell whenever his father is called to heaven. Little do they know that unsteadiness, a gift of the arrack, would cause the instant death of the old man in the house itself.

Chemban Vinod Jose and Kainakary Thankaraj in a scene from Ee.Ma.Yau

Here begin Eesy’s efforts to arrange a grand farewell. When he asks his wife Zabeth for her gold chain to mortgage for funds, she is more worried about the shame she may have to face when her family visits for the funeral. She goes to borrow a chain from her neighbour; after all Zabeth and not the neighbour will be in the spotlight at the funeral.

Eesy’s friend Ayyappan (Vinayakan), the only voice of reason and composure, holds fort as Eesy faces inner turmoil to fulfil the promises he made to his father just before his death.

The satirical screenplay by PF Mathews makes a comment on the futility of objects promised to a dying man. A blackwood coffin, a 12-piece band, a procession cross made of gold, a bishop and whatnot seem unnecessary, when all one needs is just a grave. Through funny sequences in a rained out pre-funeral party, the apathy of institutions like the church, the police, society and religion at large does not go unnoticed. A vicar with detective leanings, apathetic policemen, gossipy neighbours and hypocritical well-wishers are real characters you would find aplenty around.

What works for Ee.Ma.Yau is how real the situations in the film are. Vavachan’s wife played by Pauly Valsan howls her heart out as she cleverly slips in comments about their life together to express her grief. The actress brilliantly portrays the otherwise personal emotion of grief by adding a few decibels to it.

Chemban Vinod Jose as Eesy shows a vulnerable side and adds a realistic touch to his character. Vinayakan as Ayyappan is brilliantly sane in a world where the human fabric is thinning to the point of tearing.

Lijo Jose Pellissery has come up with a successful film in all aspects — story, screenplay, music, acting and crisp editing.  The portrayal of a funeral scene is so real, it’s unsettling. The humour is effortless, promoting a mirthfulness that also makes you think how humans always focus on the unnecessary.

Ee.Ma.Yau entertains thoroughly and stuns too. It is not to be missed.

Ee.Ma.Yau was screened at the 9th Jagran Film Festival 2018 in Mumbai.

Related topics

Jagran Film Festival

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