The Malayalam movie that was India’s official entry to the Oscars 2021 is a feast to the eyes and an eye-opener to any introspective soul. Though the film is not part of the Oscar race in the 93rd Academy Awards, the film is nothing short of a marvel.
Lijo Jose Pellissery- the renowned director of another masterpiece, Angamaly diaries seems to have created a tapestry of art pieces, weaving them into a delicate narrative. Collaborating beautifully with cinematographer Girish Gangadharan and music director Prashant Pillai, the audience is taken on a roller coaster ride into the magnificent museum of nature. The soul of the viewer screams for a pause, to take it all in but is left unheard as the director pushes for more adrenaline using beasts, brutalism, weapons wrapped with brilliance of imagination, anxiety and truth.
As stomachs churn, the ride continues to reveal a simple storyline. It is the narrative that peels the layers of the story to reveal the characters, their complexities, the carnal truth of the deep and dormant human nature. The need to be seen, heard, and applauded at all costs, the instinct to be territorial, the games of an opportunistic mind that is on the verge of losing, the desperation to claim the best for one’s brood, the contrasting , idiotic wavering of the young mind and the urge for revenge – slowly the characters reveal all.
It is the climax that depicts the ‘one’ single dark truth of human nature – the selfish and covetous need to avoid sharing , the egotistical thought of cutting away every element that fetched one the final victory. The one thought that leads to the final destruction- everything belongs to me and must be mine alone.
The movie’s main character is a humble buffalo that must survive , from being butchered for a Sunday feast . A headstrong buffalo that refuses to be bullied down by hunting humans. But die it must, not before taking them for a ‘jallikattu’ ride , not without a good fight – because every life matters.
The final shot of the movie is the last breath of a de- skinned Buffalo amidst celebrations by dancing cavemen. The simple depiction alludes the lack of emotional evolution of us humans. We still rejoice at the pain of the voiceless. A must watch for the awakening of the dead compassion within us.